Friday, 29 May 2009

The Desire for Religious Life

This statue is found in the back garden of Les Buissonnets, the house at Lisieux where Thérèse and her family lived. It depicts Thérèse asking her father for permission to enter Carmel at the age of 15, and stands in the very garden where her request was made on this day in 1887. He agreed, though it must have been difficult parting with his daughter; two had already entered the Carmel and his wife had died eleven years earlier. During the visit of the relics of St Thérèse in September there will be information about vocations to the priesthood and religious life: it could be a great opportunity for those whom God is calling to this commitment.

Friday, 22 May 2009

St Thérèse for Schools

When the relics of St Thérèse visit Lancaster Cathedral at the end of September a special programme will be laid on for visiting school groups. Resources are also being supplied to all the schools of the Lancaster Diocese in the run-up to the event; in this way it is hoped that all the schools of the Diocese, whether or not they are able to arrange a visit, will take part. We had hoped to supply resources to schools by the end of May, and a pack is in the final stages of preparation, but we now expect that information will reach schools early in June. In the pack schools will find resources for assemblies, for telling the story of St Thérèse and her message, items for display and ideas for how to mark the visit in schools. There will also be full details of an exciting programme for schools in which they can visit the relics and take part in workshops on the Cathedral site on Tuesday 29th September. We will post more details of the plans on this site when the information has gone out to schools. Watch this space!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Canonisation of Thérèse

On this day in 1925 Pope Pius XI pronounced, "We declare Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus to be a saint." The canonisation ceremony, at St Peter's Basilica in Rome, was perhaps the grandest ever seen. 34 cardinals, over 200 bishops and up to one million faithful attended. The Pope said, "We desire most earnestly that all the faithful should study her in order to copy her, becoming children themselves." Privately he spoke to the Archbishop of Philadelphia, referring to Thérèse by saying, "whom you call in America the Little Flower, but whom I call my guiding star."

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Healing of St Thérèse

On this day in 1883, in this room on the first floor of the family house in Lisieux, the young Thérèse experienced a miraculous healing. She had fallen seriously ill after her sister Pauline had entered the Carmel, and her family greatly feared for her life. A novena of Masses was offered for her in Paris, and during the novena Thérèse's sisters gathered with her to pray. The sisters together faced a statue of Our Lady which was in the room. "All at once the statue became animated", Thérèse recalled. "Our Lady became so beautiful that I shall never find words to express that heavenly loveliness... but what penetrated to the depths of my soul was her ravishing smile. Then all my pain vanished." Thérèse was completely cured of her illness. Visitors to the house can see a relica of that statue (on the right of the picture above); the original was placed with the reliquary which remains permanently at the Carmel in Lisieux.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Cathedral Cloister Garden

The visit of St Thérèse to Lancaster Cathedral will be permanently marked with a new garden built around a statue of St Thérèse in the Cathedral cloister. The garden design is the result of a competition launched at Myerscough College, a few miles south of Lancaster. Today we reveal the winning entry. The image above gives some impression of how the garden will look to those entering. Plenty of space has been left around the statue to allow groups to gather for prayers and devotions.
The competition was won by Josie Beeson from Kirkby Lonsdale, who is in the final year of her Foundation Degree in Garden Design at Myerscough. Josie said, "I am thrilled to have won this competition as it is the first one I’ve ever entered. The project was definitely a challenging one due to the area receiving practically no direct sunlight, being enclosed on all sides and containing eight downspouts. I am hoping to start up my own business once I graduate and this will look fantastic as an example of my work." The design is inspired by St Thérèse: white flowers and surfaces represnt purity and serenity, while purple shades point to the suffering which was so much a part of Thérèse's life. Seen from above, the statue is in the centre of a simple cross, a reminder of the simplicity of Thérèse's message and the importance of the Lord's death. The garden has been designed with the impression of beauty and strong scent in mind.

We hope that work on the garden will begin shortly. It is a major task, which first involves some landscaping work to transform this currently very barren part of the site into something appealing. The transformation is being funded by donations from parishioners and others who are keen to help. If you'd like to contribute, please get in touch.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Thérèse events in May

The build-up to the visit of St Thérèse begins to become more public this month, as the first talks on the life and message of Thérèse take place around the Diocese. Over June and July there will be further opportunities to learn about this great saint. We know of two talks happening in May in the Diocese of Lancaster: On 18th May at 7pm Fr Frank Gallagher OCD will deliver a talk entitled "The Spirituality of St Thérèse of Lisieux" at St Benedict's School in Whitehaven; the poster can be found here. The following evening, 19th May at 7:30pm, Raymond de Souza (St Gabriel Communications and EWTN) will speak on "The Spirituality of St Thérèse in the Year of St Paul", at Our Lady Star of the Sea Social Club, St Alban's Road, St Annes-on-Sea. You can read a little more about this parish in an earlier post here. Both talks are free of charge and no booking is required. For a full list of the events we know of which are happening in the Diocese, see the diary here, or scroll down to the foot of this page to see details of events in your own area. If you know of any events which are not listed, please contact us.