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Relics of saintly family on tour, first stop sees St Therese spend time with fellow her sisters

Rare opportunity: Many people take the chance to reverence the relics of St Therese of Lisieux and her parents Sts Zelie and Louis in St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. Photos: Giovanni Portelli/The Catholic Weekly

FAMILIES are focusing on the holy lives of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents Sts Zelie and Louis Martin whose relics are several days into a tour of Brisbane archdiocese.

The holy saints, known for their devotion to the Catholic faith and steadfast commitment to the family, are in Australia for a four-month pilgrimage.

The relics are now in Brisbane until February 15 after an eventful start in Sydney, which saw the late arrival of the parents who did not arrive as scheduled on January 23 with their daughter due to “a logistical issue”.

The first stop in Australia for St Thérèse’s relics was with her fellow Carmelites in Varroville, NSW, where a meeting of Carmelite Sisters was taking place.

Prioress of Brisbane’s Carmelite Ormiston community Sr Moira Kelly was at the meeting and one of the blessed few to pray privately with St Thérèse’s relics before the busy tour.

“I like to think Therese wanted to spend some quality time with her Sisters before her parents arrived, which was just after we left on Saturday morning, so I didn’t get to see them,” Sr Moira said.

Sr Moira will eventually see the relics of Sts Zelie and Louis Martin when they arrive with St Thérèse’s at the Carmelite community on February 12.

“This time around, the focus will be more on the family, rather than just Therese,” Sr Moira said.  “And we sure need good role models for families today.”

Sr Moira said the remains of the saints should inspire all who venerate them to grow in holiness.

“Being near the relics is like being in the presence of the person,” she said.

“We human beings are not pure spirits, and we believe in the resurrection of the body. 

“Just as we feel close to our loved ones when we visit their graves, the remains of the saints inspire us on our journey to holiness.”

The saintly family will stay in Ormiston until the following afternoon, when they will travel to Mary, Mother of Mercy Church in Burleigh Waters.

The holy relics have already started their visit of Brisbane, having been to the Carmelites in Coorparoo, Catholics in Springfield and the Oratory community in Annerley.

The saints were scheduled to be venerated at St Stephen’s Cathedral this weekend (February 8 and 9).

From there the relics will travel north to Gunalda and Gympie on February 10, stop in at Bungaree for the day on February 11, before spending the night at Little Flower Church in Kedron until February 12.

After their visit to the Carmelites in Ormiston and to Burleigh Waters the relics will remain at Marian Valley on the evening of February 14 until midday on February 15. 

The pilgrimage continues into New South Wales and the rest of Australia until May 10 when it will end at St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth.

The full itinerary is available at https://www.catholicmission.org.au/relics

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