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Safe passage assured for St Thérèse relics as documentary chronicles planned Scottish visit

When the relics of St Thérèse make their way to Scotland later this year, they will avoid air and sea and travel under the English Channel as strict security measures ensure their safe arrival.

Fr James Grant, recently appointed general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, is currently in France preparing for the arrival of the Little Flower’s relics. And his return journey will have to be made by car through the Channel Tunnel as the relics are not permitted to be out of his possession during the journey.

The relics will tour Scotland from August 30 to September 20, starting in Carfin Grotto in Motherwell Diocese and working anti-clockwise around Scotland, finishing in Glasgow Archdiocese.

Each diocese will have an appointed relics coordinator, and it is expected that large numbers will turn out due to the saint’s enduring popularity and special resonance to Scotland. Canon Thomas Taylor, the founder of Carfin Grotto, the site of Scotland’s annual Catholic national pilgrimage, had a special ­devotion to St Thérèse of Lisieux, and wrote a book about the Little Flower.

“Canon Talyor was a great devotee of St Thérèse,” Fr Grant said, adding: “She is phenomenally celebrated throughout the Catholic world. The relics have been taken on pilgrimage throughout the world and people turn out in huge numbers. Many churches in Scotland and all over Europe have a statue of the Little Flower. After her death her fame and devotion spread rapidly throughout the world.”

Ahead of the relics’ arrival, Fr Grant is filming a documentary in France with Motherwell Diocese-based Sancta Familia Media.

The documentary explores the pilgrimage sites of the saint and her connections to Scotland.

St Thérèse of Lisieux was born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin on January 2, 1873. At an early age she felt called to religious life and so, after overcoming various obstacles, she joined two of her elder sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy, at the age of 15.

Known as ‘the Little Flower,’ St Thérèse has become a highly influential model of sanctity to many because of the simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life.

St Pope Pius X called her ‘the greatest saint of modern times.’ She died in 1897 of tuberculosis, at the age of 24. She was canonised in 1925.

The relics of St Thérèse have been on an international pilgrimage since 1994. They were brought to Ireland in the summer of 2001 and then to England in 2009 where a quarter of a million people venerated them.

—For more information on the Scottish visit, see:

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