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October 7, 1999


St. Therese of Lisieux is often called "the greatest saint of modern times." Pope John Paul II has canonized hundreds of saints but has declared only one Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux, for her special wisdom and authentic teachings of faith. For the first time, the relics of St. Therese visit 120 sites and cities in the United States. The relics will visit the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, from Sunday, October 10, 1999 through Tuesday, October 12, 1999.

Brief Bio of St. Therese of Lisieux
Therese Martin was born in 1873 in Alencon, France. At age 15, Therese entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. She became known for her faith and her intimacy with God. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, Therese died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. The world came to know Therese and her "little way of spirituality" through her autobiography, Story of a Soul. Before her death, St. Therese declared that she would "spend her heaven doing good on earth." Therese saw herself as the "little flower of Jesus" She was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Little Flower High School in Philadelphia is named in honor of St. Therese.

The Relics
Encased in a box, called a reliquary, made of jacaranda wood and gilded silver
Reliquary covered with plexiglass to protect the aging materials
Entire reliquary: 300 pounds, five feet long, just over two and a half feet high
Some of St. Therese's bones inside reliquary
Reliquary on display during entire visit (public can touch)
Relics are not worshiped or idolized by Roman Catholics. They are symbols of the Saint that help inspire those who visit to draw closer to God. It is like visiting a cemetery to honor and be reminded of a family member or a friend.

The world tour of the relics began in 1995 and will continue in the Philippines after the United States tour ends on January 28, 2000 in Hawaii.

Donna Crilley
Communications Assistant

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