National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica

National Shrine of the Little Flower, 2100 Twelve Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Michigan, Združene države Amerike

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Since its founding in 1926, the Shrine has been a place where pilgrims from near and far come to celebrate and deepen their faith.  The example of their patroness, St. Thérèse and her little way of doing small things with great love has inspired many to come closer to Christ.

At the National Shrine, they celebrate a long tradition of faith dedicated to the spirituality of the Little Flower, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in North America.

See the original Basilica of St Therese of the Child Jesus, Lisieux in France with the tomb of Saint Thérèsethe Little Flower.

Story of my soul, first published in 1898 in a highly edited version, quickly became a modern spiritual classic, read by millions and translated into dozens of languages around the world. See the book here: Story of a Soul The Autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux.

St. Thérèse of the Infant Jesus – the Little Flower

When she was 9 years old, Thérèse entrusted to the Carmel prioress her desire to become a Carmelite, the same as her sister Pauline. In 1888, at the age of 15, she entered Carmel and took the name of Thérèse of the Infant Jesus, in memory of Teresita de Jésus, the niece of Thérèse d’Avila, who entered the cloister at the age of 9 years.

She took the veil in January 1889. During her nine years of religious life, Thérèse was assigned to a number of different duties: laundry, refectory, sacristy, painting workshop, pottery. She was in charge of writing poems, canticles, prayers and pious recreational activities. See top 15 Catholic shrines in the world

In 1893, Pauline (Mother Agnès of Jesus) was appointed prioress of the community. Céline also entered Carmel, after taking care of Mr. Martin, who suffered from mental illness and paralysis, until his death. Thus, the four sisters: Pauline, Marie, Thérèse, and Céline were reunited.

In 1895, Pauline asked Thérèse to write her Story of St Therese of Lisieux which she completed one year later. In 1897, while suffering from tuberculosis, she wrote about her spiritual life. She died on 30 September 1897. The local newspaper announced almost anonymously: the “death of Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, 24 years 9 months, a nun at Carmel, rue de Livarot”.

Since the publication of her memoirs, Thérèse has been known and loved throughout the world and people come from far and wide to pay tribute to her at Lisieux.

Thérèse began writing down her childhood memories at the request of her blood sisters in the Lisieux Carmel, few could have guessed the eventual outcome. Yet this Story of my soul, first published in 1898 in a highly edited version, quickly became a modern spiritual classic, read by millions and translated into dozens of languages around the world. See the book here:  Story of a Soul The Autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux

On December 23, 2014 – Pope Francis grants National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak the honorary title of ‘Minor Basilica’

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron announced on January 31, 2014 that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, granted the title of Minor Basilica to the National Shrine of the Little Flower Church in Royal Oak.

The title is given to churches around the world to denote a particular importance in liturgical and pastoral life and a closer relationship with the pope.

The title of Major Basilica is reserved to churches in Rome.“By honoring the National Shrine of the Little Flower with the designation as a Minor Basilica, Pope Francis has blessed all of us in the Archdiocese of Detroit,” said Archbishop Vigneron.

National Shrine of the Little Flower Architecture

A dramatic limestone Art Deco tower called the Charity Crucifixion Tower, completed in 1931, features integrated figural sculptures by Rene Paul Chambellan, including a large figure of Christ on the cross, 28 ft (8.5 m) high on the Woodward Avenue façade. It was built as a response to the Ku Klux Klan as a “cross they could not burn”. The sides and rear feature windows inside the crucifix which can be lit from within. At the upper corners of the tower are symbols of the Four Evangelists. Carved below the feet of the figure of Christ are the Seven Last Words. Just below them is a doorway with “Charity” and “Christ Crucified” carved above it. On the sides of the doorframe are depictions of items associated with the Passion. The doorway leads to a small balcony which can serve as a pulpit. On the front are carved depictions the Archangels Jophiel, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel. The pulpit is flanked by depictions of John the Apostle and the Virgin Mary to the left and a Roman Centurion holding a spear and Mary Magdalene on the right. Across the terrace facing the crucifix a depiction of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is carved into the surrounding wall. This sculpture is also by Chambellan.

National Shrine of the Little Flower Architecture

A dramatic limestone Art Deco tower called the Charity Crucifixion Tower, completed in 1931, features integrated figural sculptures by Rene Paul Chambellan, including a large figure of Christ on the cross, 28 ft (8.5 m) high on the Woodward Avenue façade. It was built as a response to the Ku Klux Klan as a “cross they could not burn”. The sides and rear feature windows inside the crucifix which can be lit from within. At the upper corners of the tower are symbols of the Four Evangelists. Carved below the feet of the figure of Christ are the Seven Last Words. Just below them is a doorway with “Charity” and “Christ Crucified” carved above it. On the sides of the doorframe are depictions of items associated with the Passion. The doorway leads to a small balcony which can serve as a pulpit. On the front are carved depictions the Archangels Jophiel, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel. The pulpit is flanked by depictions of John the Apostle and the Virgin Mary to the left and a Roman Centurion holding a spear and Mary Magdalene on the right. Across the terrace facing the crucifix a depiction of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is carved into the surrounding wall. This sculpture is also by Chambellan.

Behind the tower are doors leading to large chapel that connect the tower with the main sanctuary. The altar of the chapel is within the base of the tower. The octagonal nave seats three thousand on two levels, with the altar in the center. The main building is granite and limestone, with exterior and elaborate interior sculptural work by Corrado Parducci, including a lectern and Stations of the Cross, and hand-painted murals by Beatrice Wilczynski. The stunning octagon-shaped granite baptismal font was designed by renowned liturgical artists Robert Rambusch and Mario Agustin Locsin y Montenegro.

In 1998, the United States Bishops’ Conference declared the site a National Shrine, one of only five in the country.

The Life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

THÉRÈSE MARTIN was born at Alençon, France on 2 January 1873. Two days later, she was baptized Marie Frances Thérèse at Notre Dame Church. Her parents were Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin. After the death of her mother on 28 August 1877, Thérèse and her family moved to Lisieux.

Towards the end of 1879, she went to confession for the first time. On the Feast of Pentecost 1883, she received the singular grace of being healed from a serious illness through the intercession of Our Lady of Victories. Taught by the Benedictine Nuns of Lisieux and after an intense immediate preparation culminating in a vivid experience of intimate union with Christ, she received First Holy Communion on 8 May 1884. Some weeks later, on 14 June of the same year, she received the Sacrament of Confirmation, fully aware of accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit as a personal participation in the grace of Pentecost.

She wished to embrace the contemplative life, as her sisters Pauline and Marie had done in the Carmel of Lisieux, but was prevented from doing so by her young age. On a visit to Italy, after having visited the House of Loreto and the holy places of the Eternal City, during an audience granted by Pope Leo XIII to the pilgrims from Lisieux on 20 November 1887, she asked the Holy Father with childlike audacity to be able to enter the Carmel at the age of fifteen.

On 9 April 1888 she entered the Carmel of Lisieux. She received the habit on 10 January of the following year, and made her religious profession on 8 September 1890 on the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In Carmel she embraced the way of perfection outlined by the Foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus, fulfilling with genuine fervour and fidelity the various community responsibilities entrusted to her. Her faith was tested by the sickness of her beloved father, Louis Martin, who died on 29 July 1894. Thérèse nevertheless grew in sanctity, enlightened by the Word of God and inspired by the Gospel to place love at the centre of everything. In her autobiographical manuscripts she left us not only her recollections of childhood and adolescence but also a portrait of her soul, the description of her most intimate experiences. She discovered the little way of spiritual childhood and taught it to the novices entrusted to her care. She considered it a special gift to receive the charge of accompanying two “missionary brothers” with prayer and sacrifice. Seized by the love of Christ, her only Spouse, she penetrated ever more deeply into the mystery of the Church and became increasingly aware of her apostolic and missionary vocation to draw everyone in her path.

On 9 June 1895, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, she offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God. At this time, she wrote her first autobiographical manuscript, which she presented to Mother Agnes for her birthday on 21 January 1896.

Several months later, on 3 April, in the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she suffered a haemoptysis, the first sign of the illness which would lead to her death; she welcomed this event as a mysterious visitation of the Divine Spouse. From this point forward, she entered a trial of faith which would last until her death; she gives overwhelming testimony to this in her writings. In September, she completed Manuscript B; this text gives striking evidence of the spiritual maturity which she had attained, particularly the discovery of her vocation in the heart of the Church.

While her health declined and the time of trial continued, she began work in the month of June on Manuscript C, dedicated to Mother Marie de Gonzague. New graces led her to higher perfection and she discovered fresh insights for the diffusion of her message in the Church, for the benefit of souls who would follow her way. She was transferred to the infirmary on 8 July. Her sisters and other religious women collected her sayings. Meanwhile her sufferings and trials intensified. She accepted them with patience up to the moment of her death in the afternoon of 30 September 1897. “I am not dying, I am entering life”, she wrote to her missionary spiritual brother, Father M. Bellier. Her final words, “My God…, I love you!”, seal a life which was extinguished on earth at the age of twenty-four; thus began, as was her desire, a new phase of apostolic presence on behalf of souls in the Communion of Saints, in order to shower a rain of roses upon the world.

She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on 17 May 1925. The same Pope proclaimed her Universal Patron of the Missions, alongside Saint Francis Xavier, on 14 December 1927.

Her teaching and example of holiness has been received with great enthusiasm by all sectors of the faithful during this century, as well as by people outside the Catholic Church and outside Christianity.

On the occasion of the centenary of her death, many Episcopal Conferences have asked the Pope to declare her a Doctor of the Church, in view of the soundness of her spiritual wisdom inspired by the Gospel, the originality of her theological intuitions filled with sublime teaching, and the universal acceptance of her spiritual message, which has been welcomed throughout the world and spread by the translation of her works into over fifty languages.

Mindful of these requests, His Holiness Pope John Paul II asked the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which has competence in this area, in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with regard to her exalted teaching, to study the suitability of proclaiming her a Doctor of the Church.

On 24 August, at the close of the Eucharistic Celebration at the Twelfth World Youth Day in Paris, in the presence of hundreds of bishops and before an immense crowd of young people from the whole world, Pope John Paul II announced his intention to proclaim Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face a Doctor of the Universal Church on World Mission Sunday, 19 October 1997.

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_19101997_stherese_en.html

National Shrine of the Little Flower

National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak, Michigan is a well known Roman Catholic Church and National Shrine executed in the lavish zig-zag Art Deco style. The structure was completed in two stages between 1931 and 1936, and remains the third largest building in Royal Oak. The sanctuary stands at 1200 West Twelve Mile Road at the northeast corner of Woodward Avenue and is a parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Construction was funded by the proceeds of the radio ministry of the controversial Father Charles Coughlin who broadcast from the tower during the 1930s.

Named in honor of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (who was also known as the Little Flower), the church was first built in 1926 in a largely Protestant area. Two weeks after it opened, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of the church. The original wood structure was destroyed by a fire March 17, 1936. Construction of the new building started in 1931 and ended in 1936. Its completion was spurred by the destruction of the old structure and it employed large amounts of copper and stone to execute the designs of architect Henry J. McGill, of the New York firm of McGill and Hamlin.

On December 23, 2014 – Pope Francis grants National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak the honorary title of ‘Minor Basilica’

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron announced on January 31, 2014 that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, granted the title of Minor Basilica to the National Shrine of the Little Flower Church in Royal Oak. The title is given to churches around the world to denote a particular importance in liturgical and pastoral life and a closer relationship with the pope. The title of Major Basilica is reserved to churches in Rome.“By honoring the National Shrine of the Little Flower with the designation as a Minor Basilica, Pope Francis has blessed all of us in the Archdiocese of Detroit,” said Archbishop Vigneron.

Posted in North America and United States