Pope Pius X declared her to be the greatest saint of modern times.” In 1997, Pope John Paul II declared her a doctor of the church. Canonized in 1925, “The Little Flower,” St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, is one of the Church’s most beloved saints. She has inspired millions around the world with her teachings of the “little way” and her simple yet profound trust in God.
Relics of The Little Flower draw enormous public interest. Dec. 2-6, 1999, relics of the saint came to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, at the end of a five-year tour of 80 cities. The relics arrived at the Basilica from the Chancery in
During the relics’ visit, an estimated 70,000 individuals passed through the Basilica, thousands waiting in line for hours to see and touch the reliquary. The Discalced Carmelite friars, six or eight at a time, spent hours hearing confessions.
A best-kept San Antonio secret is that the Basilica has its own first-class relics of the Little Flower, and makes them available to the public weekly without fanfare. THIS TUESDAY AND EVERY TUESDAY evening after the 6 p.m. Carmelite community mass, a reliquary is brought out for all who desire to touch and venerate.
First-class relics are also contained within a ring on the left hand of the statue of Thérèse in the tomb chapel, open for visits daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Shrine also possesses a first-class relic of the saint’s parents, St. Louis and St. Zelie Martin, who were canonized in 2015 by Pope Francis. The relics of the Martins are a treasured gift to the Basilica and the Discalced Carmelite Friars of San Antonio from the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Lafayette, La.
Pope John Paul II declared the National Shrine of the Little Flower a Basilica in 1998. It meets certain conditions described in the 1968 decree “Domus Dei” from the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments. The shrine is of “notable size and beauty,” a “consecrated church” that has special “prestige in the life of the diocese, and is a place containing “special relics of a canonized saint.”
“I discovered that she didn’t build a palace, didn’t build convents, didn’t build universities. What’s so outstanding about her is that every little thing she did, she did it with a lot of love. Love for Jesus and for the church. She made one promise—that she was not going to rest in heaven; she was going to be praying for the rest of us on earth, which is why we ask her now to pray for all of us in San Antonio.”
Archbishop Patrick Flores in 1999