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Cathedral plays host to St Therese relics.

Two Birmingham churches are preparing for an unprecedented flock of visitors to the city when the remains of a venerated saint comes to the United Kingdom for the first time.

St Thrse of Lisieux, who died in 1897 aged 24, is regarded by millions of devotees as one of the greatest saints of modern times. Her relics have attracted enormous umbers of pilgrims to venues across the world in the last decade.

St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham and Sacred Heart and St Teresa in Coleshill are among 28 venues chosen to host the saint's month-long visit. The specially-made wooden casket - weighing nearly 21 stone - containing bones from St Thrse's thigh and foot will be taken to the cathedral on Saturday.

A series of masses and prayer services will be held over two days, including an all-night vigil on the first day from 9pm.

St Chad's Cathedral administrator, Canon Patrick Browne, said: "We are privileged to host the visit of the relics of St Thrse of Lisieux. In so doing, we are joining with people from the 27 other venues throughout England and Wales who will be united in this special devotion. In the past, people of many nations around the world have experienced joy and peace in venerating these relics.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for people of all Christian traditions and other faiths to seek renewed strength and the confidence to pray for peace and reconciliation in our own personal lives and throughout the world."

The relics will be taken to the parish of Sacred Heart and St Teresa on Monday for two days. The church is one of only a few non-Cathedral venues to host the bones.

St Thrse was declared a saint in 1925 and, on the centenary of her death in 1997, she was named a Doctor of the Church, an honour bestowed on only three women.

She has also been named as the patron of many diverse groups - of missionaries, Aids sufferers, aviators and the sick.

The saint, also known as The Little Flower, was known to have prophesied that she would be very active after her death, saying: "I'll let fall a shower of roses on the earth when I'm in heaven."

Over the years, many people have reported signs and miracles involving the mysterious appearance of roses - after which she was nicknamed.

The pounds 40,000 tour, funded by donations, started in Portsmouth Cathedral on Tuesday and will end at Westminster Cathedral on October 15.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 17, 2009
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