Friday, May 15, 2015

Travel France: Pilgrimage to Therese of Lisieux Sites

Cecilia at the Basilica of St. Therese

The convent schools I attended had two statues of St. Teresa.  They both wore the brown habit of Carmel. One statue showed a woman ooking up to heaven (Teresa in ecstasy); the other stood upright with flowers at her feet. The first one was Teresa of Avila from the 16th century; the other was Teresa of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower who was born 1873. Nuns talked to us about these two saints. We were to emulate the intelligence of the Spanish Teresa while imbibing traits of the sweet Little Flower. 

Cathedral of St. Pierre

I understood the strength, intelligence, and dynanmic spirit of Teresa of Avila who founded many orders, and is known as the Reformer of the Carmelite Order.

Crypt of Basilica of St. Therese, showing silver coffin with remains of Blessed Louis and Zellie Martin, parents of Therese

The Little Flower died at the age of 23 from tuberculosis (or consumption) and she did not do great things as Teresa of Avila had done.  But in fact (the nuns taught me) the Little Flower's greatness came from how she lived life simply and how she offered up small things to God. We were told that God is just as pleased by such small sacrifices.

Many years ago, I visited Avila in Spain, home of the first Teresa. Lisieux. Lisieux, were the Little Flower had lived, kept eluding me, despite the fact that I'd visited France several times. But today, finally, we made a pilgrim's visit to Lisieux,.

Lisieux is in the North of France, around 30 minutes ride from Honfleur where we are. We drove there this morning and saw Lisieux's Cathedral of St. Pierre, a Gothic church which was there when Therese resided there.  

Therese and her family had left Alencon for Lisieux after Therese's mother died of breast cancer, Therese was four years old. Her father, a chemist, had relatives in Lisieux who could help him raised his five daughters. Therese lived for 11 years in a house called Les Buisonnet, at the edge of town. After seeing Les Buisonnet I understood the Martin family was fairly well-off. In fact, Louis Marin had taken Therese on a pilgrimage to Rome, meaning he could afford that expense.

Main Altar of Basilica of St. Therese

Therese followed her older sister, Pauline, in joining the Carmelite Order. The other sisters also became nuns.  

I learned today that the parents, Louis and Zellie Martin, were beatified in 2008. There was a coffin with what I assumed had their remains at the crypt of the Basilica of St. Therese.

I am posting some pictures taken at Lisieux - enjoy them!

A cat from the home of Therese of Lisieux greeted us.

The following pictures show the home and garden of the Martin family.

Bedroom of St. Therese of Lisieux

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Tags: France, travel, pilgrimage, Teresa, Little Flower, Therese, Lisieux, Child Jesus, saint, Catholic, religion, Christianity

This is all for now,

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