The relics of St Therese of Lisieux (the little flower) and her parents (Sts Louis and Zélie Martin) will visit St Agnes’ Catholic Church in Hay Street for a short time (12noon-5.45pm) on Wednesday 19 February.
Over the next four weeks, short articles and links will appear to help you get ready for the visit.
The information below, based on an article by Bishop Greg in Catholic Life (December 2019), helps us understand the spiritual significance of this visit.
What are relics?
Relics are the remains of a holy person, which are revered because of their connection to that holy person. (Watch 1m24s video that explains this concept).
Why are relics important?
We all have treasured items from people we have loved and that remind us of the person or a special event. Such items can bring to mind attributes of the person’s goodness and may even encourage us to live according to higher values. The relics of saints fall into this category. Relics are physical remains, which connect us with the goodness and holiness of the saint and, through the saint, move us to live better lives.
What is special about St Therese and her parents?
The saints who are “visiting” Australia are a mother, father and daughter. St Louis and St Zélie are the only married couple to be canonised. Their daughter, St Therese (who died in 1896 at the age of 24), was called the greatest saint of the modern times by Pope St Pius X.
If you see a good child, the parents’ role in cultivating such goodness is key. Jesus, Mary and Joseph are the ultimate examples of holiness and goodness in the family. St Therese is the daughter of holiness. The Church recognised this and so investigated her parents and found two saints.
How do the saints help us on the path to holiness?
These three saints show us the integrity of virtue and that the path to holiness is the path of struggle and ordinary life. They experienced the mercy of the Father and this influenced the way they lived and loved. They have been where we are and, together, they allowed God to perfect them.
Want to read more?
Catholic Mission has a webpage dedicated to stories and photos about the Saints and their Australian pilgrimage – catholicmission.org.au/relics-of-saint-therese-of-lisieux.
Next week – The life of St Therese