"Over 60,000 at St. Therese's Canonisation" - a 1925 newspaper report for the anniversary - May 17, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 11:09PM
Maureen O'Riordan in May 17 1925, canonization of St.Therese, cause of St. Therese of Lisieux

Over 60,000 at St. Therese’s Canonisation

His Holiness Proclaims New Glory of Carmel

All Nations Represented at the Happy and Impressive Event

 [from the Freeman's Journal (Sydney, New South Wales, July 2, 1925]

A Banner of St. Therese Displayed in St. Peter's for Her Canonization

ROME, May 23.

The solemn Canonization of the little Carmelite, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, who died in the cloister at Lisieux, France, in 1897, at the age of 24, an event long and eagerly awaited by millions of her devoted clients in all parts of the world, took place on Sunday last in the presence of a vast multitude numbering at least 60,000 persons.

In honor of the new glory of Carmel, the gigantic dome of St. Peter's Basilica shone brilliant in the flaming light of 5000 tallow candle torches, illumining the hills and plains for miles around and flashing the message of Therese's triumph.  Beneath the glittering dome, gardens and palaces, streets and edifices were arrayed in unbelievable grandeur and beauty. From every, corner of Italy and particularly of Rome, throngs of people poured into the marvellous old City, all thrilling with expectancy and anxious to the glorification of her who is in the garden of the Saints, the Little Flower.

Within St. Peter's

This, the first Canonization of the Holy Year of 1925, was marked with most sublime and significant solemnities. Within St. Peter's, rare and precious brocades and velvets, crimson in colour, depended from walls and ceilings. Upon them the radiance of 25,000 electric bulbs threw brilliance almost celestial. Roses, symbolic of Therese, were gar- landed about the altar, the pillars and ceilings.

Upon the ancient hallowed walls of the vast edifice hung several life-size paintings of the Little Flower at various periods of her life; Therese at the feet of the Pontiff, Leo XIII. beseeching with childlike candor to be permitted to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen; Therese in the garden of the convent at Lisieux, standing beside the great Cross on her Profession Day; Therese robed for burial, her pure brow crowned with roses.

From early afternoon great crowds began to assemble about St. Peter's, the vast Square and side streets, and all entrances were choked with those who had come far in the hope of witnessing the Canonization ceremonies.

In order that the voice of the Holy Father might be distinctly audible to all within the Basilica, large amplifiers had been installed on the four corners of the Papal Altar (directly beneath the dome of Michael Angelo). Four thousand specially, constructed seats along the tribunes offered provision for some small fragment of the vast throng desiring admittance. About the massive aisles the Swiss Guards hovered on vigilant guard in order to preserve the decorum fitting the sacred spot and the occasion.

The Gorgeous Procession

At the hour set for the ceremonies, the long procession of representatives of religious Orders, ecclesiastics and prelates of high rank, many robed in gorgeous vestments, swept toward the great Altar.  The Pontiff, Pope Pius XI, borne upon the Sedia Gestatoria, raised his hand, in blessing as he was borne along. The flabelli or large fans waving gently upon the Holy Father lent an atmosphere of .the Far East to the scene.

Absolute silence prevailed throughout the vast edifice as the procession moved on. It is estimated that fully 30,000 French Catholics, 12,000 Americans and 10,000 English speaking Catholics were present in the Basilica. Smaller groups of persons representing almost all other nationalities also participated. In the royal box which formerly sheltered Kings and Queens and Princes famed in history of the centuries, were representatives of the royal houses of several European countries. In other specially re served sections were illustrious states men and members of the nobility. Immediately following Pope Pius in the procession came over 200 Archbishops and Bishops from all over the world, clad in the sacred, vestments of their high office.

When, in 1923, the saintly young Carmelite, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, the favored child of Heaven, was raised to the honors of the altar by Pope Pius XI and formally enrolled among the Blessed, it was believed that within a short space her Canonization would follow. And the reason was that, the treasures of her childlike love had been poured out abundantly upon a world war- swept, storm-tossed and weary of its wretchedness. Her appeal was universal, especially at a time when men craved for light and peace, for the favorite saying of this little Child of Carmel had been: 'Jesus! I ask of Thee only peace!'

In his memorable allocution of April 30, 1923, Pope Pius stressed the characteristics of a life that was lived in secret, known only to God and to the few chosen souls who surrounded it. The Holy Father declared on that occasion that it was this spiritual Childhood of which Therese was the exemplar, pleasing alike to God and men, that had won for the Little Flower such a rare place in the category of the Saints.

Patron of Soldiers

During the great World War Therese of the Child Jesus became the favorite advocate of those who were fighting the great fight in the sacred cause of democracy. Many favors were vouchsafed by her to her devout clients. Had the Little Flower of. Jesus lived, she would have been just fifty-two years of age to-day.  But in the inscrutable designs of Providence, she was privileged to be of those who, having lived for a short space, fulfil a long time.

Unprecedented in the history of canonizations is the rapidity with which the Cause of the Little Flower has gone forward. But providential it surely is, since it is but the echo on the lips of the world, of that age-old cry which Augustine voiced centuries ago: — that the human heart is ever restless until it rests in God. And whosever can show the quickest way to peace is the Angel of Peace to souls that are weary of exile and longing for deliverance from a multitude of woes. To win God by caresses, 'to cast before Jesus the flowers of little sacrifices, to show men a new little way, very easy and very short, by which to go to Heaven,' — this is the mission of Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus whom all the world loves by the name of the Little Flower.

The Canonization of this dear little Saint of our own day is but the outward expression and recognition, of. the Church for the mission so faithfully performed, for the knowledge vouchsafed to men through her holy life and words, the knowledge that in the simplicity of the common way great sanctification may be attained, and man's age-old quest, the Heart of God, won at the cost of no very great or striking sacrifice.   

Retrieved May 17, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116764741

Article originally appeared on Saint Therese of Lisieux (http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/).
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