VISIT TO IRELAND OF THE RELICS OF SAINTS LOUIS & ZÉLIE MARTIN AND SAINT THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX :          AUGUST 4th TO SEPTEMBER 9th, 2018.

The relics of Saints Louis and Zelie Martin and St. Therese of Lisieux arrived in Ireland on August 4th 2018 and their first port of call was St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.  They visited Knock, St. Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, Whitefriar Street, Cathedral of St. Patrick and St. Colman, Newry and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, just to name a few.  They travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, criss-crossing the country, including the Phoenix Park from Saturday 25th to 27thAugust which was a special time during the World Gathering of Families 2018.  Then they were taken to Mountjoy Prison, Docas Centre, Mosney Accomodation Centre, where their presence would have been much appreciated and it would have been a great source of blessing for all.                                                                                                                                             Finally, today as they are about to be ferried back to the Continent, the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban, Magheramore are privileged to offer hospitality and to host their last port of call. 

As they travel around there were many questions asked: How is this mystical magical tour such a hit?

There were prayers, hymn but no tears because St. Therese died more than a century ago.  She was a young girl from northern France who entered a Carmelite convent at the tender age of 15, before dying nine years later of tuberculosis. Her name was Thérèse Martin and the point of bringing her body around is not to mourn her life, but to celebrate it.  Her remains have so far toured more than 40 countries including the US, Australia, Iraq, Mexico and Siberia, Britain, Guyana, and Tunisia. It is a lot of travelling and popularity for Therese who spent almost all her 24 years of life in one place, the town of Lisieux in northern France! One person said: Wherever she goes, Thérèse pulls in the crowds – and it’s not just people who go to church, it’s all sorts of people. We can’t explain what’s going on.”

Thérèse’s rise to fame has been remarkable. When she died, in the infirmary of this convent, on 30 September 1897, her life seemed so pathetically uneventful that her sisters in the community wondered what the prioress could write in the traditional obituary that was dispatched to neighbouring convents. Then someone remembered that, a few years earlier, Thérèse had written a short autobiography, and it was decided to use that as the basis of a tribute. The tribute proved popular; its fame spread from convent to convent, and a second print run of 2,000 was ordered. When the nuns were left with some copies, they resourcefully decided to sell them, and Thérèse’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul, has never been out of print since. It’s been translated into 50 languages, and millions of copies have been sold worldwide.

What drew the millions of readers to her story was the tone of Thérèse’s relationship with God where she unravelled a portrait of an intimate, almost brotherly love. For Thérèse, it wasn’t so much that she needed God, as that God needed her. “We must not let slip,” she wrote, “the smallest opportunity of giving Him joy… He is in such need of love.” It was a revolutionary approach to God; so, too, was her insistence that it was in the small things of life – the everyday frustrations, disappointments and challenges – as well as in the big heroic deeds, that a love of God could be demonstrated. Therese called it her “little way“.

Thérèse’s approach to God was to appeal – particularly, in the years soon after her death – to the soldiers of the First World War battlefields not far from Lisieux. For thousands of soldiers who found themselves facing an early death amid the humdrum boredom of daily life in the trenches, Thérèse’s mixture of the mundane and the immortal spoke volumes: she became known as “the Angel of the Trenches”, and the museum at Lisieux contains hundreds of tokens of gratitude – including medals awarded for valour – brought here by soldiers, mostly French but some British or even German, who felt her words had guided them through the darkest of times.

Prayer to Saint Therese

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, 
Please pick a rose for me
From the heavenly gardens
And send it to me
As a message of love.

O little flower of Jesus,
Ask God today to grant the favors
I now place with confidence
In your hands.

(Mention your specific requests)

St. Therese,
help me to always believe,
As you did,
In God’s great love for me,
So that I might imitate your
“Little Way” each day.

Amen

 

Categories Encounters