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Visit of the Relics of St. Thérèse 2009

" ... my mission is about to begin, my mission of making others love God as I love Him, my mission of teaching my little way to souls..."

Saint Thérèse as a novice in Lisieux Carmel

The visit of the relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux to England and Wales in the autumn of 2009 was a remarkable celebration for the Christian community.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-97) is one of the best loved saints of the Church, because during her short life in France - including time spent as a Carmelite nun - she drew very close to God by learning to love and trust God as her tender and merciful parent. Her profound wisdom became known as her 'Little Way of Spiritual Childhood'. In 1997 she was declared a Doctor of the Church, that is, a saint with an understanding of the Gospel that is especially helpful to all Christians.

The Carmel Monastery in Lisieux where Thérèse lived and died

Since the 1990s her mortal remains have been taken to Christians communities around the world, who find hope in her message and help through her prayerful intercession with God. Many people of other faiths, and indeed those of no faith, have found Thérèse a symbol of hope and an encouragement to love. Thérèse's brothers and sisters in Carmel today hope that in encountering the relics of 'the Little Flower' (as Thérèse is nicknamed), many people will be drawn closer to Jesus Christ whom she loved - and continues to love - with a passion.

A large reliquary containing some of her bones came to England and Wales for the first time between mid-September and mid-October 2009. Among the locations visited were Carmelite communities of friars and nuns, including Aylesford Priory in Kent, where the relics were venerated by pilgrims 9th -11th October, and the Priory of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Kensington the following day (12th October). Communities of Carmelite religious and laity across England and Wales were involved in welcoming the relics of our sister in Carmel, including the visit to Birmingham Cathedral (19th-21st September) and to York Minster on her feast day, 1st October.

Saint Thérèse (right) as sacristan in Lisieux Carmel


You can learn more about the visit, the Catholic understanding of venerating relics, and see a list of venues, by clicking on the banner below for the website of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

 

Carmelite celebrations and commemorations of Thérèse
Several Carmelite communities in Britain (of both the Ancient and Discalced Observances) hosted special events to mark the visit of Thérèse's relics, including:
  • The Carmelite Forum conference on St. Thérèse in London on 12th September.
  • Talks on St. Thérèse in Leeds on 13th September and on 30th September.
  • An Open Day on Thérèse organised by our Discalced Carmelite brethren in Kensington.
  • A talk on St. Thérèse by the Prior Provincial in central London on 3rd October.
  • A 'Day with St. Thérèse' on 3rd October at Thicket Carmelite Monastery near York.
  • A time of prayer and celebration with St. Thérèse at Aylesford Priory when her relics were there between 9th and 11th October.
  • A series of talks on Carmelite spirituality organised throughout the summer and autumn of 2009 by the Lay Carmelite community in Birmingham.
  • A presentation to the deaf/hard-of-hearing community at Westminster Cathedral on 13th October.
 

Pilgrims venerating the relics of St. Thérèse


 

Saint Thérèse and vocations

The visit of the relics of Saint Thérèse to England and Wales in the autumn of 2009 was an ideal occasion to pray for vocations to the priesthood, to the religious life, and to the Carmelite Family. Thérèse was intimately concerned with God's calling of her family and friends, and we continue to ask for her intercession that others may be called to Carmel. To download a vocations leaflet produced in conjunction with the visit of the relics (in PDF format) please click here.

 

Selected resources

Publications

In 2009 the British Province of Carmelites published a book about St. Thérèse's love of God's Word in the Bible, which we offered as an original contribution to the wide range of publications about St. Thérèse available during the relics visit. Entitled The Gospel Sustains Me, and bringing together contributions from different branches of the Carmelite Family, you can read more about this book and an extract of it by visiting the Saint Albert's Press pages of this website, clicking here.
 
Websites (click on each link below to access the relevant site)

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Gateway

Sanctuary of St. Thérèse in Lisieux

Bishops' Conference - Relics visit

 
 
National Prayer for the visit of the relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux to England & Wales

God our Father, you reveal to us the depth of your lovein the holy face of Jesus Christ your Son. As we honour St Thérèse of the Child Jesus may we have the confidence and love to stand fully in the light of your presence so that the beauty of the Gospel may expand our hearts and open us to the gifts of your Holy Spirit. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

St Thérèse, Patroness of the Missions, pray for us.