Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 11, 2001
Prepare for 'Little Flower'
Collins urges spiritual preparation for visit of St. Therese's relics
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Archbishop Thomas Collins wants Catholics to be fully prepared to receive the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux, which will arrive in the Edmonton Archdiocese at the end of September.
Speaking at the meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council June 2, Collins said Catholics need to be educated on the meaning of the saint's relics as well as on her life and teachings.
"This is a huge event and also a great occasion for catechesis," he said. "First of all we need to do some education on relics, which are not a big thing here.
"We are also going to educate people on the teachings of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was not just a sweet and beautiful person but also (somebody) who dealt with profound things of the faith."
The archbishop has chosen St. Theresa Parish in Millwoods as the place of pilgrimage for the visitation of the relics, which will be on display there from Sept. 29 until Oct. 1, the feast day of St. Therese.
He compared visiting the relics at the church with having a chance to visit the tomb of the saint herself. The relics, basically the bones of the saint, are kept in a container or reliquary that weights more than 300 pounds.
Collins will receive the relics at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 and will close the visitation Oct. 1 with a 7:30 p.m. Mass. He said it has been suggested the relics be welcomed with a ringing of bells as they come into the city.
From St. Theresa Church, the relics will be transferred to the Carmelite monastery near Devon for adoration by the nuns before they are sent to Calgary.
"It's important to prepare well for (the visit of the relics) if it is going to have a profound effect," Collins said, suggesting St. Therese's story be told in a brochure.
The Edmonton visit of the relics is part of a Canada-wide tour of 41 of the country's 63 Catholic dioceses beginning Sept 10 in Vancouver.
The three-month tour will also include three stopovers in Northern Canada and end in Halifax Dec. 15.
St. Therese died in 1897 at the age of 24 after spending nine years in the Carmelite convent at Lisieux. Her reputation for holiness quickly spread to the entire world following the publication of her autobiography, 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 on 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. By the time her relics come to Canada, they will have travelled through 22 countries as a part of a pilgrimage that began in 1995.
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