Saintly Visitation to The Sinners
Remains of Catholic saint visiting west London
The remains of a 19th century French nun who became one of the most important Catholic saints,will be in west London this week.
The relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who is known as the 'Little Flower of Jesus' will be on display at the Carmelite Church in Kensington Church Street on 11 October. and in Westmister Cathedral from the 12th - 15th October.
The casket will also stop off at at Wormwood Scrubs prison where inmates will be able to kiss it and pray. There are thought to be around 300 Catholic inmates in the W12 jail.
Helen Baly, chaplain at the jail said the response from prisoners has been very positive and they were very keen to take part.
Saint Thérèse entered a Carmelite convent at the age of 15 and lived a life of humility and simplicity. Numerous miracles were attributed to her prayers. Her writings, and particularly her autobiography, 'The Story of a Soul', have inspired millions of people around the world.
The Basilica of St Thérèse, in her home town of Lisieux, attracts around two million visitors a year, making it the second most popular pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes. The tour of her relics to this country is also expected to attract large numbers of people.
"We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for this initiative and since the initial announcement in February, we have had to extend the dates to try to accommodate the sheer number of people and parishes who want to support it. We’ve worked hard to ensure that the visit includes a good geographical spread so that as many people as possible can participate,” said Mgr Keith Barltrop National Coordinator of the Visit of the Relics.
Saint Thérèse died in 1897 at the age of 24 and was canonised 28 years later. After the Second World War, her remains began touring France, and since 1996, they have travelled to more than 40 other countries, including Iraq, Bosnia, Lebanon and Australia.
The Catholic Church said crowds that have seen the relics in other countries have experienced conversion, healing, a renewed sense of vocation and the answer to their prayers.