Thérèse of Lisieux
in Making and remaking saints in nineteenth-century Britain
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This chapter examines the little known part played by British Catholics in the development of worldwide devotion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux after her death. Focusing on the pivotal part played by Monsignor Thomas Nemo Taylor in the cultivation of her cult, this chapter also explores the role of ordinary Catholic women and men in the ‘making’ of this now ubiquitous saint. British Catholics were foundational to the evolution of the cult of the ‘Little Flower’ – from one of the first beatification miracles (a Glaswegian woman cured of a tumour in 1900) through to the establishment of a prominent pilgrimage site at Motherwell (complete with a ‘lifelike’ statue erected by public subscription and the procurement of a miracle-working relic from Lisieux) and the erection of a national shrine in her Basilica in Lisieux. Utilising a cachet of ex-votos received from British Catholics and kept in the archives in Lisieux - which centre on health, the family, and fulfilment of gender roles - this chapter analyses the growing appeal of a nineteenth-century saint in the early twentieth century. Through her British Catholics articulated new ideas about Christian virtue (and its democratization), shifting gender roles, and the distinctiveness of Catholic identity within a still sometimes vociferously Protestant nation.

Editor: Gareth Atkins


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