Tens of thousands of people have turned out to pray before the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux in a predictably enthusiastic response to their visit to Scotland.
The relics of the Little Flower are visiting every diocese in the country. The first stop drew more than 20,000 pilgrims to the churches of the Diocese of Motherwell.
Last weekend they were due to arrive in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, where Archbishop Leo Cushley was predicting a similarly positive response.
“We’ve been awaiting the relics of the Little Flower with great anticipation,” he told the Edinburgh News.
“From the Carmelite Sisters in Dysart, Fife, to people from parishes all over the archdiocese, there is much affection here for this extraordinary woman who, in so short a life, became a profound inspiration to many as well as a Doctor of the Church.
“We hope and pray for many blessings from the visit of her relics.”
After Edinburgh, the relics were to be taken this week to the Diocese of Aberdeen and the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, before spending the weekend in the Diocese of Paisley.
The final stop will be the Archdiocese of Glasgow, where the relics will be present on September 16-18, before they return to France on Thursday.
Officials hope that the three-week tour will be as productive as that south of the border a decade ago. On that occasion, more than a quarter of a million pilgrims venerated the remains of the French saint.
The organisers’ overall intention is to boost Church renewal by helping to increase the faith and the holiness of the Scottish Church. A prayer to St Thérèse composed for the pilgrimage says: “May our nation be showered with your roses.”
St Thérèse was a Carmelite nun who outwardly differed little from other Sisters in her community and died at the age of 24 in 1897. It was only when her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, was published in 1898 that she was recognised, in the words of Pope St Pius X, as “the greatest saint of modern times”.
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