Relics of Saint Thérèse: Canadian Tour to Include Three More Cities

Tuesday, November 20 2001

(Ottawa — CCCB) St. John’s, Newfoundland, Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, and Sydney, Nova Scotia, have been added to the Canadian visit of the relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

The Canadian tour of the relics, which began in Vancouver on September 16, will now end on December 16 when the reliquary containing some of the bones of Saint Thérèse will visit the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s. It was to have ended on December 14 in Halifax but was extended at the request of Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of St. John’s.

The dioceses of Ste. Anne-de-la-Pocatière and Antigonish will join other Canadian dioceses in hosting the relics. St. François Xavier Church in Rivière-du-Loup will receive the reliquary for a brief time on the morning of December 5 while St. Theresa’s Parish in Sydney will receive the relics on December 11.

The relics of the “Little Flower”, or “Petite Thérèse” as she is known in French, are now travelling through Quebec. As in the rest of the country, the relics have attracted huge crowds. In Montreal, during three days in October, more than 50,000 people went to St. Joseph’s Oratory to spend a few moments next to the reliquary. The organizers expect more than two million people will have visited the reliquary by the end of the tour.

Over the next few weeks the relics will be visiting the dioceses of Sherbrooke, Nicolet, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Chicoutimi, Baie-Comeau, Labrador City-Schefferville, Rimouski, and Ste. Anne-de-la-Pocatière. On December 5, the relics will travel to Atlantic Canada with visits in the dioceses of Edmunston, Moncton, Yarmouth, Antigonish, Halifax and St. John’s.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (Thérèse Martin) was 24 years old when she died of tuberculosis in 1897, just nine years after entering the Carmelite convent in Lisieux, France. Her reputation for holiness quickly spread after the posthumous publication of a collection of her three manuscripts under the title of Story of a Soul. Right after her death, there were reports of extraordinary events associated with her, including cures and conversions. Pilgrims were soon flocking to Lisieux. Beatified in April 1923, she was canonized two years later, on May 17, 1925. In October 1997, she was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II, in recognition of the exceptional influence of her spirituality throughout the world.