Tour of Relics of Saint Therese

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An icon of St Therese painted and completed in May 2019 by the St Andrews Community

The St Andrews Community of Aberdeen and the RC Diocese of Aberdeen is pleased to announce that in September 2019, the relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, otherwise known as ‘the Little Flower,’ will make a tour of Scotland. In a Roman Catholic context, this is a wonderful grace for our country, an opportunity for faith, hope and charity to be rekindled in our hearts through the powerful intercession of ‘little Therese,’ as she asked to be called.

To be kept up to date with the itinerary, please go to ‘advance notice: the relics of St Therese

The tour has been coordinated by the St Andrews Community based at St Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen. The St. Andrew Community are a group of single women living together with Christ as their centre. They are privately consecrated, offering the whole of their lives to God alone. They follow the example, and are inspired by, St. Andrew the Apostle whom the Messiah asked personally: “Follow me”.

What are relics of the Saints and where does the tradition of venerating relics come from?

Relics are physical objects that have a direct association with the saints or with Our Lord. First class relics are the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such as pieces of bone or flesh. Second class relics are something that a saint used during their life, for example books or clothes or fragments of these things and third class relics are items that have touched another relic. The tradition of Catholics venerating relics comes from Sacred Scripture and the life of Jesus. Scripture teaches that God acts through relics, especially in terms of healing. When the corpse of a man was touched to the bones of the prophet Elisha the man came back to life and rose to his feet (2 Kings 13:20-21). A woman was healed of her haemorrhage simply by touching the hem of Jesus’ cloak (Matthew 9:20-22).

The fact that God chooses to use the relics of saints to work healing and miracles tells us that He wants to draw our attention to the saints as “models and intercessors.” (CCC 828)

Saint Therese is a model of holiness for us because she was Christ-like. She was Christ-like in her simplicity, Christ-like in her abandonment to God’s Will, Christ-like in her love for her neighbour. She teaches us that “holiness consists simply in doing God’s will and being just what God wants us to be.”

An intercessor is one who ‘pleads for another’ and this is what the saints continue to do for us who still on earth, after they have died. St. Therese who died at the age of 24 after living a hidden life for nine years in the Carmel of Lisieux always had a burning desire to be a missionary. She discovered that her mission, her call from God was “to be love in the heart of the Church.” Her mission she described to us was “to love Jesus, to win souls for Him so that He may be loved.” We can have great confidence in the intercession of St. Therese, of her pleading for us to God in heaven, because her desire was not to ‘rest’ in heaven but to continue to bring others to Christ, she said, “I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.” We can see that God has fulfilled her desire to be a missionary by the fact that her relics are now continually travelling from country to country bringing abundant graces to those who go to visit them and pray to her.

The relics of St. Therese will be in Aberdeen diocese from the 9th to 11th September 2019. Her relics will arrive at St. Mary’s Cathedral on the evening of Monday 9th September and from there will go to Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin and St. Mary’s, Inverness on Wednesday 11th September. There will be an opportunity to venerate her relics throughout the day and night, to pray for her intercession, to learn her ‘little way’ summed up in her words, “Remember nothing you do is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love.”

(Representative of the Community)

Creating the Icon

“Prayerful Iconography takes time! We would normally need a bit longer than the four months we had for the Little Flower, but once we got going she seemed to have taken over!  The image wasn’t the one we all agreed on, but after careful consideration and advice from both our Greek and Russian teachers this is the one that was meant to be, we think.
Her face has certain features recognisable in St Therese, and others that belong to Our Lord, in a very real way it seems she is showing us she has become one with her Beloved.
The Crucified Christ icon she holds close to herself points to how the inscription is possible. Indeed “There is only one thing to do here below…” And how better to love Jesus and help save souls then uniting, as Our Lady did perfectly,  to His Holy Will through the Cross which shows the little way of love in deeds more than words.
It is our prayer that our little saint in Heaven, our dear friend St. Therese will speak to every heart in Scotland as they are meant to hear about the love of God and how to grow in it in a personal way.”

(Representative of the Community)