Relics of St Therese draw crowds to prayer

Within the first 72 hours of the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux arriving in England and Wales, it became clear that something extraordinary was happening. The first official venue on the tour, Portsmouth Cathedral, reported much higher numbers of pilgrims than expected, well into the thousands, who came through the doors between 16th and 17th September.

The Bishop of Portsmouth, Crispian Hollis, stated in a note of thanks to those involved in the planning of the event: "Over the years of the history of our Diocese and our Cathedral in Portsmouth, we have witnessed many great events and occasions. But, for sheer intensity of prayer and real devotion, I doubt whether any have matched what we have experienced during the hours of the visit to the Cathedral of the Relics of St Therese."

The Bishop continued: "The casket containing her bones was with us for about 26 hours and during that time, the Cathedral remained open and welcoming to about 4,500 people who came to pray ... There have been many occasions when I have been intensely proud to be the bishop of our diocese of Portsmouth, but never more so than now. I will keep the memory of these days and, I hope, the graces that have flowed from them forever in my heart."

Among the pilgrims in the Cathedral was Lay Carmelite Judy Pellatt, Reflecting on her visit, Judy said: "It was something else and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. ... No doubt Therese will be visiting somewhere near most Carmelite communities in Britain. Do NOT miss it! In the farewell Mass, Canon Hopgood said we had experienced something of the Transfiguration and we didn't want to come down off the mountain. So true. Yet, wherever heaven touches earth, something tangible remains and I am quite sure that she will never entirely leave us. I was privileged to be an altar server throughout and proudly wore my Third Order scapular under all my attire!"

On Thursday the relics were taken to Plymouth's Catholic Cathedral in the county of Devon where again large crowds enthusiastically welcomed Therese's relics, and - more importantly - her 'Little Way' message of trust in a loving God.

On Friday 18th September the relics were transported to St Teresa of Lisieux Church in the Somerset town of Taunton, in Clifton Diocese. The crowds anticipated are so large that local traffic diversions have been put in place to direct pilgrims to the church. Over the weekend they attracted huge crowds in Birmingham.

Photos appear courtesy of

Source: British Province of the Carmelites

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