Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 18, 2000
St. Therese's relics to visit Edmonton
Little Flower's relics have drawn large crowds world-wide
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
St. Theresa Parish in Millwoods will be the place to be in September when the relics of its patron saint arrive for a two-day visit.
Archbishop Thomas Collins has chosen St. Theresa's Church as a place of pilgrimage for the visitation of the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux by the Edmonton Archdiocese.
The relics, basically some of saint's bones, will be on display at the church from Sept. 29 until Oct. 1, the feast day of St. Therese.
"We are delighted," said parish spokesperson Rick Strauss. "I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us and the whole area. We strongly encourage everyone to come."
Strauss is a member of a parish committee recently struck to coordinate the visitation.
"I encourage every parish in the archdiocese and Catholics throughout northern Alberta to plan to come to St. Theresa's Parish as pilgrims seeking Jesus Christ through St. Therese of Lisieux, the 'Little Flower,'" Collins writes in a Dec. 5 letter to the archdiocese's parishes.
"Let us pray for the success of the visitation to our archdiocese, that through the intercession of St. Therese many hearts will be turned towards Jesus."
Collins will receive the relics at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 29. He will close the visitation on Oct. 1 with 7:30 p.m. Mass.
From St. Theresa Church, the relics will be transferred to the Carmelite monastery in Devon for private adoration before they go to Calgary.
"St. Therese of Lisieux is a very important saint in our lives and for that reason the coming of the relics is important," Collins said Dec. 12.
"She really paved a whole way of living the Christian life, based upon serving God in little things day by day. And that spirituality is really important for us, so important that the pope declared her a doctor of the Church (three years ago)."
The visitation is part of a world-wide tour that began in 1995 and will take in 22 countries. During a four-month tour of the United States that ended earlier this year, more than one million people came to venerate the relics. The relics will arrive in Canada Sept. 18.
Therese Martin died of tuberculosis at the age of 24 in 1897 after having spent nine years in the Carmelite convent in Lisieux, France. Her reputation for holiness quickly spread to the entire world following the publication of her reflections, entitled The Story of a Soul.
Extraordinary events began to occur following her death. Miracle cures and high-profile conversions attracted large numbers of pilgrims to Lisieux.
In 1910, barely 13 years after her death, work began for her canonization.On April 29, 1923, she was beatified.
Two years later, on May 17, 1925, she was canonized by Pope Pius XI, who named her the principal patron saint of the missions, on an equal footing with St. Francis Xavier. In 1997, Pope John Paul proclaimed her a doctor of the Church in recognition of the exceptional influence of her spiritual writings.
Devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux is as alive today as it was at the time of her canonization. More than 1,800 churches worldwide bear her name.
Only a few weeks before her death, she said: "I shall spend my time in heaven doing good on earth." She is still able today to touch hearts through her memory, words and testimony of a life centred on Christ.