Relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Her Soon-to-be-Canonized Parents Visit Archdiocese

The Relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux – popularly known throughout the world as “The Little Flower” – and those of her parents, Louis and Zélie Martin – the first married couple to be declared Saints by the Catholic Church, and whose canonization will take place in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, on October 18, 2015 – are visiting nine locations within the Archdiocese of Newark as part of a worldwide public pilgrimage tour that has been continuing since 1994.    

The first stop on the Archdiocesan tour will be the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, October 17. The day will begin at 9 a.m. with a talk on the life of St. Thérèse and her parents by Rev. Frederick L. Miller, STD, a priest of the Archdiocese and author of the book The Trial of Faith of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Public veneration of the relics will follow until 11 a.m., when The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, will celebrate Mass.    

Following Mass, public veneration will continue until 3 p.m.

Immediately after the visit at the Cathedral Basilica, the relics will travel to the following locations within the Archdiocese:

October 17 – October 18: St. James Parish, 41 S. Springfield Avenue, Springfield

October 18 – October 19: Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, 543 Springfield Avenue, Summit

October 19 – October 20: St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus Parish, 131 E. Edgar Road, Linden

October 20 – October 21: St. Lawrence Parish, 22 Hackensack Avenue, Weehawken

October 21 – October 22: St. Joseph Parish, 115 E. Fort Lee Road, Bogota

October 22 – October 23: St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, 88 E. Saddle River Road, Saddle River

October 23 – October 24: Immaculate Conception Parish, 30 N. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair

October 24 – October 25: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, 103 S. Center Street, Orange

Specific contact information for times of veneration at each of these locations can be found online at:

About the Saints

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 – 1897), or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D., was a French Discalced Carmelite nun. She is popularly known as “The Little Flower of Jesus” or simply, “The Little Flower.”

Thérèse has been a highly influential model of sanctity for Catholics and for others because of the “simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life.” She is one of the most popular saints in the history of the Church.

Thérèse felt an early call to Religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15 she became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite Religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent her last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. Her feast day is on October 1.  

St. Thérèse is the youngest of all of the Doctors of the Church, a title the Catholic Church bestows upon someone recognized for contributions to theology or doctrine.

Blessed Louis Martin (1823 – 1894) was a watchmaker by trade. He also skillfully managed his wife’s lace business. Born into a family of soldiers, Louis spent his early years at various French military posts. He absorbed the sense of order and discipline that army life engenders. His temperament, deeply influenced by the peculiar French connection between the mystical and the military, tended toward things of the spirit.

At twenty-two, young Louis sought to enter Religious life at the monastery of the Augustinian Canons of the Great St. Bernard Hospice in the Alps. The blend of courage and charity the monks and their famous dogs manifested in rescuing travelers in Alpine snows appealed powerfully to Louis Martin. Unfortunately, the Abbot insisted the young candidate learn Latin. Louis, whose bravery would have carried him to the heights of the Alps in search of a lost pilgrim, got himself lost among the peaks and valleys of Latin syntax and grammar. His most determined efforts failed, and he abandoned his hopes for the monastic life.

Eventually, Louis settled in Alencon, a small city in France, and pursued his watchmaking trade. There he met Zélie Guerin, whom he married in 1858.

Blessed Zélie Martin (1831 – 1877) was one of Alencon’s more talented lace makers. Born into a military family, Zélie described her childhood and youth as “dismal.” Her mother and father showed her little affection. As a young lady, she sought unsuccessfully to enter the Religious order of the Sisters of the Hotel-Dieu. Zélie then learned the Alencon lace-making technique and soon mastered this painstaking craft. Richly talented, creative, eager, and endowed with common sense, she started her own business and became quite successful.

Together, the Martins had nine children – seven girls and two boys. Four of these children died. The five surviving children – all girls – entered Religious Life.