Enclosure: the extreme frontiers


‘The figure of Saint Therese of Jesus Child corresponds strikingly to the title of Meeting 96. Therese has been called “the greatest Saint of modern times” (Saint Pius X) and proclaimed in 1927 “principal patron of the missions of the world” together with Saint Francesco Saverio. Last September saw the beginning of the centenary of her death during which it is hoped Therese will be proclaimed doctor of the Church. Therese recovered the supremacy of the faith and confidence in Divine Mercy at a time when faith was reduced to an influx of the Jansenistic moral strictness of works before the terrible judgement of God. From the “I want all” of Therese the child to the mature awareness of a vocation to be the “heart of the Church”, and consequently of all vocations and charisms, hers was a faith lived and a confident and loving abandonment to the will of God, beyond all sentimental limitations and all calculations of “worthiness”. Such a journey culminated in her offering herself “as a victim of the holocaust to Merciful Love”, in opposition to the tradition of offering oneself “as victim to Divine justice to put off and draw onto oneself the punishments of sinners”, of which she had witnessed instances in her convent. Missionary impetus is the other essential feature of Therese’s charisma. The young enclosed nun lived her entire personal experience in a growing awareness of belonging and being responsible for the construction of the Church. Her mission, starting with the positivism in which she lived, seems to belong to a by now de-christianised age. Therese is present in her time and takes part directly through prayer and apostolate in the Church’s struggle against masonry (she herself will be the victim of violent action against the Church), which in France culminated with the dissolution of religious congregations and the denouncement of the concordat of 1905. Proof of the aridity and temptations against the faith, experienced in the last few months of her life, during the period of illness and increasing physical suffering, was knowingly lived by her and offered up to Christ as participation in modern man’s tragedy of atheism. Finally, projecting herself beyond death, she asked to spend her Paradise here on earth, still engaged in the construction of the Church. The exhibition panels have been made thanks to the cooperation of the Office Central of Lisieux, who placed at disposal the photographic material produced by Saint Thérése’s sister, Celine, who had been authorised to take the camera into the convent. Other photos have been lent by Father Girolamo Salvatico. The exhibition presents various objects which belonged to the Saint and it will also be possible to admire a reconstruction of the cell thanks to the cooperation of the Carmel of Lisieux. Within the exhibition area, passages of Saint Thérése will be read every day. During the Meeting, the Parish of Santa Giustina in Rimini will exhibit the remains of the body of the Saint.’


18 Agosto 1996 - 24 Agosto 1996




Agorà C1 (Area CdO)
Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions