St Thérèse of Lisieux in Scotland 2019
(The Bishops Conference of Scotland / Scottish Catholic Observer, €6.99 + €6.99 p&p. Order from firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 0044-141-241-6106. Arrangements are being made to distribute the book in Ireland.)
The tour of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux in Ireland is still for devotees of the saint a warm memory. This brochure continues the story with a record of the saint’s tour of Scotland for 21 days in September of last year.
It is admirably produced with excellent typography, well selected and reproduced illustrations (which for once are treated with the respect which historical documents deserve, they are not printed over, coloured up or simply used as design elements).
Aside from the itinerary and images of the events and celebrations in places associated with the long and ancient history of Catholic Scotland – such as Dunkeld, the ancient capital of the Picts – it contains some 14 essays on varies aspects of the saints family, early life, vocation, spirituality and theology. It comprises in fact an attractive album of the life and times of the saint and doctor of the Church which many people outside of Scotland would love to have.
One of these by Fr Christopher O’Donnell O Carm is on the question of why the Church promotes respect for the relics of the saints and their role in spiritual life.
‘Take a rose,’ the saint seemed to be saying to him, ‘I want it for someone’”
Naturally these essays are largely written from a Scottish perspective, which gives them a special interest. But for Irish readers I would draw attention an account of some five pages with an Irish connection entitled ‘The story of a Rose’ by an anonymous Irish priest from Kerry.
He had been on retreat in All Hallows in Dublin. He was inspired to select from a vase of lush roses beside the Tabernacle a single stem: “Take a rose,” the saint seemed to be saying to him, “I want it for someone.”
He then went on by bus into the city centre to Veritas, but he lost his way and ended up in the Pro-Cathedral. He thought he would say a prayer before he caught the bus back to Kerry. A funeral was taking place. He was inspired to place the rose on the coffin.
It was the service for Frank Patterson the singer, a devotee of the Little Flower. Only 15 minutes before a whole heap of flowers had been removed from the coffin. He walked up the aisle fortified by the saint, and placed the single rose on the lid. And there it rested through the whole service. And there, he later saw on TV, it remained up the interment in Clonmel.
This story, told in more detail, is a very moving piece, which will appeal at once to many readers. This is a small book, but one with a powerful presence.