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Clifton parishioners venerate first-class relic of St. Therese of Lisieux

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St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast day is Oct. 1, said, “When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.”

St. Therese is a Doctor of the Church and the patron saint of missionaries, which is fitting with October being named Extraordinary Missionary Month by Pope Francis.

Thanks to St. Clare of Assisi Church in Clifton parishioner Linda Ann Dickey, visitors to the church had the opportunity to venerate a first-class relic of St. Therese on her feast day. The relic sat on a small altar, adorned with roses and images of the saint known as the Little Flower.

Saints tend to show up in the strangest places. At least that is true for Dickey. A wrong turn while searching for lamps in Arizona led Dickey to an antique store.

“Something was calling my name,” said Dickey. “There’s something on this shelf I need to find.”

Drawn to a darkened corner of the store, atop a shelf and hidden behind other items, was the relic. She was told by the store owner that a priest had died more than three years before and the family wasn’t able to retrieve his things so much of his belongings were sold by the store. In a tub of the priest’s remaining belongings, Dickey found the relics of Blessed John Henry Newman (who will be canonized Oct. 13), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John XXIII. The required paperwork for authenticity was included.

It was on the Feast of the Assumption when Dickey found the relics, so she went to Mass with the relics, then to dinner where her daughter worked. She brought the relics inside. 

“We toasted St. Therese and all the other saints,” she said. “St. Therese started doing her work right there. There were a lot of young people saying they used to go to church or thinking they should read more about her. It started right there.”

The saint wasn’t new to Dickey, who had read about her and had a devotion to her, even visiting her shrine in Lisieux, France.

Dickey doesn’t keep the relics to herself. It’s been at the home of friends who are sick, in other churches where people have venerated her, and at different schools for the children to see.

“People are inspired by her story,” said Dickey. “She’s still doing her ‘little way.’” 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019