A FAMILY of saints – the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents Sts Louis and Zélie Martin – will be touring Australia for the first time in 18 years.
From February through May 2020, the relics will travel to Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.
The visit was announced on the feast day of St Thérèse, organised by Catholic Mission, which has partnered with InvoCare to bring the relics to 17 Australian dioceses.
Catholic Mission national director Fr Brian Lucas said the realisation of the simplicity of St Thérèse’s message would give people a firm foundation for their own spiritual journey.
“The pilgrimage of the relics in 2020 will be an opportunity for Australians to come together, to have that sense of belonging, and to find inspiration in the life of St Thérèse and her parents,” Fr Lucas said.
“Ahead of the Plenary Council 2020, it affords us a chance for prayerful reflection and to feel a closeness to God in the way St Thérèse did.”
St Thérèse’s relics were last in Australia in 2002.
About 20,000 people came to venerate the relics in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, and 400,000 venerating nationwide including in Brisbane archdiocese.
St Thérèse, one of the most popular early modern saints, was known for her simple way of living, spiritual writings and commitment to charitable acts.
Her parents, Louis and Zélie, became the first spouses to be canonised as a couple in 2015.
Fr Lucas said the togetherness of the family was an important feature of next year’s pilgrimage.
“I think the connection between the relics of St Thérèse and (those) of her parents gives us an opportunity to consider the importance of relationships and family life,” he said.