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Edith Piaf and Thérèse of Lisieux

by Fr. J. Linus Ryan, O. Carm.,

National Co-Ordinator, St. Thérèse Relics Visit 2001.

“I thirst for LOVE, fulfil my hope.”  [Thérèse PN 31, 6]

In 1999, a book associated the two Christian names Edith and Thérèse with the sub-title ‘The Saint and the Sinner.’

Today the film ‘La Vie en Rose’ (recently released in France under the title of ‘La Môme’—young girl) and showing in Ireland since June 22, 2007, continues to bring them together.  Is this a legend?  No, it is the truth.  In fact, the very first picture on screen shows a desperately ill Edith Piaf on stage in a state of collapse earnestly invoking St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

The Facts:

How has life brought them together?  Born in 1913, Edith, abandoned by her mother, was entrusted by her father to her grandmother Louise Gassion.  At the age of 7/8 Edith had an inflammation of the cornea (keratin) which for three years had been making her gradually blind.  Louise, her grandmother, was a cook in a brothel in Bernay in the province of Eure (not far from Lisieux) and the child was looked after by the women who lived there.  They were devastated by her handicap until somebody related a miracle (altro…)

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http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110406_it.html

http://vod.vatican.va/udienza06042011.mov

Santa Teresa di Lisieux

Nella sua ultima Lettera, su un’immagine che rappresenta Gesù Bambino nell’Ostia consacrata, la Santa scrive queste semplici parole: “Non posso temere un Dio che per me si è fatto così piccolo! (…) Io Lo amo! Infatti, Egli non è che Amore e Misericordia!” (LT 266).

Nel Vangelo, Teresa scopre soprattutto la Misericordia di Gesù, al punto da affermare: “A me Egli ha dato la sua Misericordia infinita, attraverso essa contemplo e adoro le altre perfezioni divine! (…) Allora tutte mi paiono raggianti d’amore, la Giustizia stessa (e forse ancor più di qualsiasi altra) mi sembra rivestita d’amore” (Ms A, 84r). Così si esprime anche nelle ultime righe della Storia di un’anima: “Appena do un’occhiata al Santo Vangelo, subito respiro i profumi della vita di Gesù e so da che parte correre… Non è al primo posto, ma all’ultimo che mi slancio… Sì lo sento, anche se avessi sulla coscienza tutti i peccati che si possono commettere, andrei, con il cuore spezzato dal pentimento, a gettarmi tra le braccia di Gesù, perché so quanto ami il figliol prodigo che ritorna a Lui” (Ms C, 36v-37r). “Fiducia e Amore” sono dunque il punto finale del racconto della sua vita, due parole che come fari hanno illuminato tutto il suo cammino di santità, per poter guidare gli altri sulla stessa sua “piccola via di fiducia e di amore”, dell’infanzia spirituale (cf Ms C, 2v-3r; LT 226). Fiducia come quella del bambino che si abbandona nelle mani di Dio, inseparabile dall’impegno forte, radicale del vero amore, che è dono totale di sé, per sempre, come dice la Santa contemplando Maria: “Amare è dare tutto, e dare se stesso” (Perché ti amo, o Maria, P 54/22). Così Teresa indica a tutti noi che la vita cristiana consiste nel vivere pienamente la grazia del Battesimo nel dono totale di sé all’Amore del Padre, per vivere come Cristo, nel fuoco dello Spirito Santo, il Suo stesso amore per gli altri.

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He’s particularly disturbed by the physicality of the devotion, by the “lips, beads, figurines and toys” that seem to feature. But Christianity is an embodied religion. It’s not just about abstract spiritual truths. Christians believe that God entered time. His blood dripped on to a field outside Jerusalem; his grave clothes were rolled up in a tomb after his resurrection.Teresa_di_Lisieux_4

The St Thérèse relics are no jujus – they provide real inspiration

The pilgrims following her tour are participating in an important part of Catholic belief, says Stephen Wang

Simon Jenkins is vexed by the sight of thousands of people visiting the relics of Saint Thérèse as they tour the country (Let the credulous kiss their relics. It’s no weirder than idolising Beckham, 18 September).

Jenkins finds it “distasteful”, and puts the whole irrationality of Catholic belief on a par with elephant worship and shamanism. He chooses to adopt an attitude of “courtesy” to the pilgrims, but shows very little curiosity about their real motivations. He assumes they go “to press their lips and possessions desperately against the Perspex and come away feeling better”.

As a member of the organising committee for the visit, I came to appreciate the deeper reasons that draw people to these relics. They come to pray; to find inspiration in the life of an extraordinary woman; to deepen their sense of community and belonging; to connect with a person they love. This is no stranger than visiting the grave of a relative or an exhibition about the life of someone important to you. (altro…)

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Credo: Relics of St Thérèse highlight the flesh and blood nature of Christianity -Times Online

Catherine Pepinster – editor of The Tablet

To many people Christianity seems to be a religion that fears the body, containing it and its appetites. From teaching on sexual continence to the exhortations to the faithful on fasting and abstinence, Christianity is connected in the sceptic’s mind with denial.

Yet Christianity is a very “fleshy” religion. At its heart is not just God or the supernatural but the body, with all its bones, blood and skin. The Incarnation — the miracle that means that God became man — is so familiar to Christians that it is easy to overlook what this means. But there it is in the first chapter of St John’s Gospel — “the word became flesh, and dwelt among us”.

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It’s the very ordinariness of St Thérèse of Lisieux, whose relics are now touring Britain, that makes her so popular.

St Thérèse of Lisieux has been dead for 112 years now but when she toured Ireland in 2001 a million people came out to see some of her bones, which are displayed beneath a golden statue in a glass-windowed hardwood coffin that weighs 132kg. Her tour of Britain, which starts in Birmingham today, will see her visiting Wormwood Scrubs prison as well as Catholic churches and cathedrals all over the country. (altro…)

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