The Little Flower brings huge joy to Archdiocesan schools.
“There are four Saints in Australia at the moment and to have three of them in Menai really is something very special”, according to Steve O’Connor.
The religious education coordinator at Aquinas Catholic College said it was difficult to grasp the enormity of having the relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents Saints Zélie and Louis Martin in the Holy Family Parish.
One of the first schools to be visited by the relics, he said the interest shown by the students showed their timeless appeal and the value of having them travelling around the Archdiocese.
“There are four Saints in the country at the moment and to think the only one missing here in Menai is Mary Mackillop is quite incredible,” he said.
“Hearing from the students today shows just how timeless and relatable they are.
“St Thérèse in particular resonated with the students as she was very real and just like us, went through her battles like we all do, and while she had her doubts, didn’t lose her faith, in fact her faith grew stronger because of it.
“And that’s what we hope the students will appreciate after having the opportunity to get up close and personal with them.”
Known as ‘The Little Flower’, St Thérèse while a patron saint of the Catholic Church in Australia, has inspired millions of people around the world.
More than 100 students and parishioners lined up to touch, kiss or kneel beside the reliquaries in silent prayer and devotion.
In welcoming the relics, Parish Priest Fr Mani Malana said how privileged Menai was to have them visit and how St Thérèse herself had actually influenced his own vocation.
He said her reminder of doing ordinary things with much love was a valuable message for the young and young at heart.
Student Tyler Rowles said seeing the hearses pull in to the parish was “something he’ll never forget”.
The Year 11 student said having the opportunity to carry the relics into the Church was a huge honour.
“Seeing the flowers on top of the relics through the sunlight was a very moving moment, I knew this was something quite incredible,” he said.
“The caskets were so beautiful and knowing there were relics inside will stay with me forever.”
Fellow student Eleni Long said the experience of carrying the relics into the Church and praying beside them was “indescribable”.
She said having the whole family together at the one time was very special and had inspired her to research their lives and why they were made Saints.
“I really didn’t know that much about them, but I do know I want to find out more,” she said.
“Being near them and touching them was so uplifting.”
Holy Family primary student Cooper Mazzitelli said he was incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to touch the relics.
“To be able to touch a Saint like this is incredible,” he said.
“I felt a shock wave of joy when I touched them, it was so awesome.”
“I feel so lucky to have an opportunity like this.”
The relics will be touring the Archdiocese of Sydney in February and March with a full itinerary available via this link: https://www.sydneycatholic.org/