Sunday, 7 December 2008

IBP Seminary Pilgrimage to Lisieux

The Basilica at Lisieux

On Friday, 5th December, the Seminary of the Institute of the Good Shepherd made a pilgrimage to the Basilica at Lisieux, built over the tomb of St. Therese of Lisieux, 'the Little Flower' who became a Doctor of the Church because of her writings on 'the little Way'.
Mass in the Crypt of the Basilica

Surely, St. Therese, as well as being Patroness of the Missions is a heavenly Patroness of Vocations. Throughout her short life she strived to discern and to live a vocation. When her elder sisters Pauline, Marie and Leonie left the devout home of the Martin family to become enclosed nuns, Therese felt compelled to follow, even to the extent of approaching Pope Leo XIII, while on a pilgrimage to Rome, to beg him to allow her to enter Carmel before the canonical age. Her zeal was admirable but her docility to authority was exemplary: "Well, my child, do what the superiors decide" was the Pope's reply and it was not until a year later that she was received as a postulant.

Gospel of the Mass

In proposing her 'Little Way', St. Therese proposes to us the eternal truth that sanctity is the vocation of every Catholic. She wrote: "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."

Seminarian Pilgrims and Schola

St. Therese made her religious profession on 8th September, 1890, at the age of 17. That is, upon the same day, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, precisely 116 years before the foundation of the Institute of the Good Shepherd.

The Relics of Bl. Louis and Bl. Zelie Martin
In the Crypt of the Basilica at Lisieux

The Beatification, on 19th October last, of both of her parents, Blessed Louis and Blessed Zelie Martin is a sign, also, of the call to sanctification in the married state and to sanctification within the Catholic family founded upon Marriage.

The tomb of St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese died on 30th September, 1897 at the age of 24 years. She had written: “Until the end of the world, I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth" and "I will let fall from Heaven... a shower of Roses". Let those Roses be faithful and persevering vocations!

Images taken from the website of the Seminary of Saint Vincent de Paul, IBP:

1 comment:

Maureen O'Riordan said...

Thank you very much for this pilgrimage story. The seminarians' Mass was in the exact part of the crypt (before the altar of Mary on the right)where the Carmelite nuns lived when they took refuge there during the bombing of Lisieux June-August 1944.

For more about Blessed Zelie and Louis and about St. Therese, please see my Web site at