The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux, the Patron Saint of Florists, have arrived in the UK. They entered England through Eurotunnel on Tuesday afternoon in a specially adapted hearse for an historic first visit to England and Wales.
From 16 September to 16 October, the relics of the beloved, Catholic Saint will visit 28 different venues, including many Catholic cathedrals and parishes, an Anglican cathedral, a university chaplaincy, a prison and a hospice for the dying.
Eight people will be accompanying the relics into the country, including a filmmaker and at least one Religious (monk, sister, or friar). The team left for France on Monday (14 Sept) on an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, they then travelled to Lisieux to pick up the relics and drove back through Northern France to catch the Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkestone. It was the first time the relics had travelled through the tunnel.
The relics make their way Wednesday to the first tour venue, Portsmouth Cathedral. As a child Thérèse drew a map of England and on this map she named two cities, the cities where the official tour begins and ends; Portsmouth and London
Huge crowds have flocked to St. Thérèse in every country her relics have visited – over 42 to date. Wherever they have gone, many people have experienced conversion, healing, a renewed sense of vocation, and answers to their prayers. All are welcome and there is a special invitation to the sick, young people seeking their way in life and those from any faith or none.
One of St. Thérèse’s sayings was that she would “let fall a shower of roses on earth” after her death. Consequently, many people will be bringing roses to the venues and asking for them to be blessed and to touch the reliquary.
Father Michael McGoldrick ODC, Regional Superior of the Discalced Carmelites in the UK, said: “The arrival of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux is an important moment in their journey. They have been in over forty countries but in England they will visit an Anglican cathedral (York Minster) for the first time. It reveals something of the way in which St. Thérèse’s “Little Way” of confidence in God’s love speaks to people of different faith traditions.
“I hope the visit will bring many blessings on all those who follow Jesus and that like her they will come to a deep experience of his love for them. I am sure she will bring many blessings to people of other faith traditions and to all people of good will.”
More about the visit
At each venue, there will be a Religious available for interviews about St. Thérèse and how she continues to inspire religious and lay people. They will also be able to give a personal testimony of their own religious vocation.
Daily updates from many of the venues will be posted on the newly-launched relics blog site: catholicrelics.wordpress.com. These updates will include photographs, audio podcasts, as well as blog reports.