Visit St. Therese of Lisieux in Darien, Illinois: A Brief Catholic Journey - Her Relics and Memorabilia
Who is St. Therese?
St Therese is a catholic religious saint. Born as Therese of Alencon, the ninth child of Louis and Zelie Martin, who became a nun at the age of 15. Her father refused at first to let her join the monastery. With her prodding, she became a novice the Lisieux Carmelite Sisterhood in 1888. She died at the early age of 24.
Her famous names are the Little Child of Jesus, The Little Flower of Jesus and St Therese of Lisieux. She is widely known to manifest her miracles through the roses. In 1944 her sainthood was designated as Patroness of France.
In 2012, I had the chance to visit her relics and personal belongings in Illinois. They are placed in glass cabinets for a clear view, up close and personal, to the public.
The National Shrine of St. Therese Darien, Illinois sits on a 50-acre estate owned and operated by the Carmelites. The statue at the entrance remains from the fire of 1976 which destroyed the original shrine at St. Clara's church in Chicago. The national shrine is home to the most wonderful collection of relics, personal effect and memorabilia of Therese located outside of France. This memorabilia includes drawings of the young Therese, her toys, prayer book and a chair taken from her cell in the convent at Lisieux. (http://www.sttherese.webhero.com/St-Therese-Shrine.htm)
This is the relic where you can find the hair of St. Therese. One of the significance of the relic, as considered by the Catholic church, is that it is venerated because the person is a saint or martyr.
This is part of the remains of St. Therese after she was exhumed and brought to her Shrine in France.
This is a photocopy of her student's copy book. This page mentions her journals. She wrote The Story Of The Soul when she was a student, as depicted on this handwriting. Her journals, officially called as letters and correspondence, documented her journey of faith of God. Her diary struck me as a woman who chronicled her religious life, unknowingly that it will be read by the world.
St Therese is know to write letters during her lifetime. She wrote mostly to her father, mother, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins. After her death, these letters were published, except for those that were too intimate and too trite. Many letters were also burned by the recipients, thinking they had no importance at all. The publication is a famous book called the Story of a Soul.
On her deathbed, she wrote the famous prayer "...I will spend my heaven in doing good on earth..." Her grammar was not perfect. But her words will carry you to her unforgettable description of heaven, the life after earth. The first known letter published was written when she was four years old.
St Therese is a short woman. Looking at her bed, she is a 5-footer or shorter. As a nun, I can imagine her bedroom is very simple. It probably contains a bed, small table, chair, a candle and an altar.
Or I just remembered a scene from the cel of sister Maria from the Sound of Music. Maybe the movie is close enough with its depiction of real life nuns inside a monastery.
Looking at her shoes alone gave me shivers. It is a small pair of white shoes, with ribbons on top. This woman that is being revered by Catholics has left earthly personal belongings to be seen by those who want to.
A piece of her bridal gown she wore when she became a nun in January 10, 1889. Her life as a nun is short lived. She died in 1897.
St Therese of Lisieux is the Patron Saint of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, India. Prior to her demise, Mother Theresa was called the "Living Saint" of the modern times.
Pilgrimage to France of St. Therese of Lisieux
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