Page last updated at 08:58 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 09:58 UK

Saint's remains attract thousands

The casket of St Therese of Lisieux's bones
Thousands of people viewed the relics at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Up to 15,000 people are believed to have visited Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral to view the remains of French nun St Therese of Lisieux.

The casket, containing bones from her thigh and foot, is on a nationwide tour and after Liverpool will be sent to Salford, Manchester and Lancaster.

She was described by Pope Pius X as "the greatest saint of modern times".

The Roman Catholic Church said the relics had been credited with promoting healing and reconciliation.

Space shuttle

Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams said everyone was "amazed" at the numbers of people who had come to view the nun's relics.

"It's been stunning, we had thousands and thousands of people visiting us on Thursday," he said.

"I've never seen the cathedral so full, we had people queuing outside."

St Therese, a French Carmelite nun who died of tuberculosis in 1897 aged 24, came to wider attention after her autobiography was published.

Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams
Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams said he had never seen the cathedral so full

She had a particular fondness for nature, hence the name by which she is often known, "The Little Flower".

A relic is either part of the physical remains of a holy person after their death or an object which has been in contact with his or her body.

One of her relics was taken up in the Space Shuttle Discovery last year.

They arrived in England on 16 September and have so far been taken to Portsmouth, Plymouth, Taunton, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Before coming to Liverpool, the relics were at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol.



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