Relics of Carmelite saints coming to Varroville

Exciting times: Folks from the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish at Varroville are excited to welcome the remains of St Therese of Lisieux, and her parents. Picture: Simon Benentt
Exciting times: Folks from the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish at Varroville are excited to welcome the remains of St Therese of Lisieux, and her parents. Picture: Simon Benentt

It's not every day that saints come to Varroville, but that's just what's happening this week.

The remains of French saint Therese Martin and her parents Louis and Zelie will begin a tour of Australia at Varroville's Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish church this Friday.

St Therese of Lisieux is one of the most popular saints in the Carmelite faith and the arrival of her remains is expected to draw hundreds, possibly thousands, of people to the local parish.

Church secretary Patricia Wicks said the visit was something of a coup for the area.

"This is a really big deal," she said.

"We are a bit of a base for the Carmelite community in Australia, so we were asked if we'd like to host the relics for their first stop in the Australian tour.

"After us they move on to St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney then travel around the country."

Ms Wicks said the relics had significant religious and spiritual significance in the Catholic faith.

She said being close to the relics - which are literal remains of the saints who lived in the 1800s, encased in beautiful caskets as people today might do with ashes of cremated loved ones - fostered a closer connection to God.

"There's a school of thinking that if you pray to the saints, they will then relay your prayers through to God," she said.

"So it's a very spiritual thing, to be in the presence of a saint."

Previous tours of the saints to the church in the early 2000s attracted more than a thousand people to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Ms Wicks said only the very best, most virtuous people could become saints and St Therese was one of the most revered.

She became a nun at age 15 and dedicated her life to the church , before dying of tuberculosis at age 24.

"Pope Pius recognised that Therese did not become the woman she was on her own, but was taught by her parents as Jesus was by Mary and Joseph," she said.

"That is why her parents were also canonised."

Ms Wicks said the church had a host of events planned around the arrival of St Therese (who was canonised in 1925) and her parents.

A special Mass will be held at 7.30am on Saturday, January 25, followed by a welcome of the relics at 11am, lunch at noon along with Veneration of the Relics (open to the public), and a Vigil Mass at 6pm.

Additional masses celebrating the relics will be held from Sunday to the following Saturday.

For more information about the visit of St Therese Martin and her parents, call 9603 7373 or email varroville@dow.org.au.

This story Relics of Carmelite saints coming to Varroville first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.