Little Flower Relics Arrive to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, JUNE 25, 2010 ( The Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg welcomed the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux today, marking the first time the saint’s relics have visited the country.

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The relics will tour the country for three months, traveling throughout South Africa to destinations including Tzaneen, Aliwal North, Queenstown, Kokstad, Umzumkulu, Mariannhill, Durban and Cape Town.

The first stop for the relics is the Carmelite Convent in Benoni, where priests of the archdiocese, the Carmelite sisters and the Catholic Order of the Knights of da Gama were present for the welcoming ceremony, reported the CISA news agency.

The relics will remain in the convent chapel until Monday.

Father Vusi Sokhela, who initiated the visit after a chance visit to his parish of a French follower of St Therese’s Little Way, told CISA that he hopes that St. Thérèse, who died at 24, «will be a role model for the youth, especially, since we have no South African saints of our own. Maybe one day as a result of this visit the relics of a South African saint will tour France.»

South Africa is also hosting simultaneously the World Cup soccer tournament, which ends July 11.

Beginning mid-September, the relics of St. Thérèse toured England and Wales for 28 days. The Diocese of Westminster reported that some 286,650 pilgrims visited the relics during that time.

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