Monday, March 28, 2011

St. Thérèse's relics on pilgrimage in Israel

. In her life as a cloistered Carmelite nun, St. Theresa never went out from her convent in Lisieux.
But in death, parts of her are making a world tour.
On the poster you can see the long list of cities in Israel her relics will visit in a 2-week period.
This Catholic custom of veneration of relics is strange to Jews, so of course I was curious and went to the Old City to find Theresa, The Little Flower.
Alas, the guard at the Latin Patriarchate told me I was two hours too late, that "she" had just left and was on the way to Haifa.
To console me, he showed me in to the empty cathedral.
I had the whole place to myself! Blessed silence and solitude.
The stained-glass-filtered sunlight gave some pews and the pulpit a rainbow touch.
I found one remaining copy of the welcoming ceremony at Jaffa Gate, the procession, and the Solemn Vespers at the church.

I sat on a multi-colored pew and read the pages, pretending to understand the Latin.

I thought about young (dead at 24) Theresa and her Little Way which teaches us to do little things with great love.
So this post was a tour of something I did not see, for That's My World Tuesday
However, the Latin Patriarchate website has short videos of the welcomes given to the reliquary at Ben-Gurion Airport and in Jerusalem (and also articles about the saint).
"Understanding Theresa's Relics" helps, e.g. "It is a fact that when people stand in the presence of her mortal remains or have some contact with her poor relics, . . . God, who received through her humanity so many signs of love, is pleased in turn to manifest his love through her bodily remains."
This newspaper includes the fact that one set of her relics was taken into space in the Discovery.
And Wikipedia has the whole story of Theresa, from 1873 to 1897.


Rob and Mandy said...

I don't understand relics either, but it was important to one of my aunts, a convert who became a Carmelite for over 60 years of her life. As she was a very deep and intelligent woman (met her several times in the 'neutral zone' of her convent), I suppose that I just have to be more open to this.

Dina said...

Rob, yeah, some of the brightest and deepest women (I'm thinking of Edith Stein, who went over to the strict Carmelite order and even became a saint).
I'm glad your aunt was allowed visits.
Open, yes. As long as relics have a good and even healing effect on some believing Catholics--more power to them.
I was sorry to miss Theresa's relics. I wanted to see what my reaction would be.

Kay said...

She didn't leave her convent and died at 24. She became famous through her autobiography. It doesn't explain much unless you read her autobiography. It must have been an incredible journal. Your photos are beautiful.

Robin said...

I don't really get the veneration of relics either, but what a treat to be able to visit the empty cathedral!

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aka Penelope said...

Although she remained in one place, like a wild little flower, this young woman’s influence has traveled the globe. Thanks for sharing this interesting part of your world!

J Bar said...

Beautiful architecture.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Anonymous said...

oh !

guess that her spirit did remain, here, there, everywhere. thank you for teaching me something i did not know before.

please have a good tuesday.

daily athens

Hels said...

Because I love medieval history, your post was terrific. "It is a fact that when people stand in the presence of her mortal remains or have some contact with her poor relics".

I think we Jews absolutely do understand honouring her memory and _standing_ to show respect.

The bit Jews may not understand is actually _touching the relics_ so that she may intercede on our behalf with Christ in heaven. Mind you, I find Jews putting notes into the Wailing Wall a bit superstitious as well.

Mama Zen said...

Lovely shots of the cathedral!

VP said...

Relics are something that I try to respect, but I don't relly understand...

JM said...

"This Catholic custom of veneration of relics is strange to Jews". Well, if I may, Dina, the Catholic custom of veneration of relics is (very) strange! Period. :-) The Cathedral is beautiful and your shots are great.

Sara said...

The concept of venerating relics is strange to me too. But the blessed silence and solitude of being alone in the rainbow-lit wonderful! Because I had seen her quoted in many of the books I read, last year I read a translation of Therese of Lisieux's autobiography, so your post is especially interesting to me, as were the links.

Leif Hagen said...

I love how the sun was shining inside the sanctuary on the pews! Heavenly architectural details in the wonderful cathedral!