Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Message of the rector
Rector of the Sanctuary of Lisieux, France
On September 1896, one year before being called back to God, Therese had an intuition of the celestial mission that Jesus was going to entrust to her until the end of time: “I wish to travel the world, proclaiming your name throughout the earth!”, she cried to Jesus. The reality of this mission would be verified almost immediately after her death, by the incredible universality of her spiritual experience and the innumerable graces obtained through her intercession.
Today, the Little Flower, Therese, proclaimed Doctor of the Church and Patron of Missions, still travels the world proclaiming the Name of Jesus! She does this notably through the tangible sign of her relics. And, when joined by those of her dear parents, Blessed Louis and Azélie Martin, this sign is all the more meaningful for the men and women of our time who are engaged in the vocation of marriage. In inviting veneration of these relics, brought together for the first time in a unique “family” reliquary, I hope that, all of America–spouses, parents, and children–will give thanks to God for their love lived in the humility of every day life, and will pray that their family life may be a road to sanctity. Yes, that all may confide their family joys, anxieties, and distresses to the Lord through the intercession of Therese, Louis, and Azélie! I also hope that, on the occasion of the veneration of these relics, my brother priests may revitalize their zeal for pastoral initiatives for families. I wanted to entrust these precious relics to the Magnificat Foundation because, in their work of evangelization through the good, the true, and the beautiful, I am certain that they will know how to share and make known the spirituality of the Martin family in the US.
Happy and moved to see this reliquary arrive, here in Philadelphia, on this magnificent continent where the faith burns with ardor, I give it my benediction.
Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
Rector of the Sanctuary of Lisieux
The Reliquary of Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus and her parents Blessed Louis and Zélie
In order to host properly the relics of the Martin family, the Magnificat Foundation commissioned the renowned French artist Fleur Nabert, sculptor of sacred art, to create the first “family” reliquary for veneration and procession.
On a pedestal of bronze are placed three individual reliquaries, each marked by the first letter of the names Thérèse, Louis and Azélie. The reliquary of Saint Therese, Doctor of the Church, is placed in the center, the highest of the three, while those of her parents are united by wedding rings to remind us of the power and sanctity of the sacrament of marriage. Inspired by a drawing of Saint Thérèse, her parents are represented by two lilies. The flower of Zélie Martin is slightly smaller, a sign of her death during Therese’s childhood. The flowers are molded in bronze with gilded leaves of yellow and white gold. Therese, the “Little Flower”, is represented by a rose, for she hoped to “scatter herself” beneath the footsteps of Christ, and promised “I will spend my Heaven doing good on Earth. I will let fall a shower of roses”. The ensemble is built around a radiant cross, cast in bronze, alluding to the attachment of each of the Martins to Christ. The ensemble is protected by a transparent domed cover to remind us that the Christian family is a domestic Church, the first place where we practice sanctity.
The Reliquary was presented for the first time during the Magnificat Day, November 9th, 2013, in Philadelphia, PA.
To help with the organization of these events and the keeping of the reliquary, please consider making a donation to the Magnificat Foundation.
The relics made their first public appearance at the Magnificat Day in Philadelphia, on November 9, 2013, where they were presented for veneration to more than 3,000 faithful.
The relics were carried in the Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Philadelphia, PA as thousands of faithful walked to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
The relics are available for veneration at the Discalced Carmelite Nuns Carmel (1400 66th Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19126) every Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and every Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with the exception of events across the United States.
Please inquire before planning a visit to be sure the reliquary is not on a tour outside of the Carmelite monastery.
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