Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 10:05 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 11:05 UK
Thousands gather for relics visit
Relics of St Therese of Lisieux
The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux arrived in the UK via the Eurotunnel

Up to 3000 people gathered at Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral for the visit of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux.

St Thérèse was born in Normandy in 1873, she died in 1897 and was canonized in 1925.

The relics, which have visited 46 countries, are on their first tour of England and Wales.

A relic is either part of the physical remains of a holy person or an object which has been in contact with them.

St Thérèse of Lisieux was a Carmelite Sister, and in recognition of that Sisters from four local Carmelite Monasteries in Liverpool, Birkenhead, St Helens and Upholland kept a vigil during the relics overnight stay.

Archbishop of Liverpool Patrick Kelly was present at the Cathedral throughout the relics stay and celebrated Mass on the evening of Thursday, 24 September.

The relics arrived in England on 16 September and have visited Portsmouth, Plymouth, Taunton, Birmingham and Cardiff.

The life of a Saint

Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the major saints of the Roman Catholic Church, she was only 24 when she died and is one of only three women who have been recognised as 'Doctors of the Church'.

She was born in 1873, to a devout family, Thérèse was the youngest of nine children her father had tried to become a monk but had been refused as he knew no Latin, while her mother had been unable to become a nun because she was thought to have no vocation.

St Therese of Lisieux
St Thérèse of Lisieux one of the major Catholic saints, pictured in 1896

Four of Thérèse's siblings died in childhood and her mother died when she was four years old.

Thérèse's sister Pauline became a Carmelite nun, but when Thérèse herself first tried to enter a convent she was refused because of her age.

She then petitioned her local Bishop and subsequently Pope Leo XIII when she went on a pilgrimage to Rome with her father.

In 1888 at the age of 15 she was admitted to a Carmelite convent , she entered the order in 1889 with the name Of The Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

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

She was taken ill in 1896 and over the next few months as her health deteriorated she wrote an autobiography The Story of a Soul.

This was published shortly after her death in 1897 and inspired people of different nationalities and faiths.

The process of Thérèse's canonization began in 1914 and unusually the normal fifty year delay between death and beatification was skipped and St Thérèse was canonized in 1923, only 28 years after her death.

Saint's remains attract thousands
25 Sep 09 |  Merseyside
Nun relics arrive on 28-date tour
15 Sep 09 |  Kent


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific