The relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux which have been in Scotland since Thursday 29th of August, as part of a three-week tour of Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses, arrived at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow today, Monday 16th September.
The relics arrived at HMP Barlinnie, one of Scotland’s largest prisons at 2.00pm on 16th September where Archbishop Philip Tartaglia celebrated a Mass for staff and inmates.
In his homily, the Archbishop urged inmates to follow the example of St. Therese and to “do little things, little acts of goodness here and there throughout the day that in the end make a big difference.” He suggested prisoners could “offer a kindly word to a fellow inmate who is struggling with prison life. You could cooperate more readily with prison staff. You could perform your duties more perfectly for the sake of all.”
Archbishop Tartaglia recognised that “Prison life is not easy” but suggested to prisoners, that they could “offer up to God your hardships and sufferings for the sake of your fellow prisoners. You could say a kind word rather than a harsh one. You could make more of the opportunities that you are given to prepare for life on the outside.”
Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin (St. Therese of Lisieux) who is patroness of the Missions, the sick and prisoners entered the convent aged just fifteen and was canonised a saint in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Many miracles of healing have been reported throughout the world, including Scotland, through her intercession.
Archbishop Tartaglia explained to staff and inmates why the relics were visiting a prison;
“Famously, as a girl of 14, St Therese prayed for the conversion of a convicted murderer, who, although he never admitted his guilt, at the last, kissed the figure of the crucified Jesus just before his execution. Later, when she wrote about this, St Therese took this to be a sign that her prayer had been answered and that the man had asked forgiveness of God. Because of that, it is recommended that her relics, should, if possible, be taken to a prison. Accordingly, when the relics came to Glasgow, I wanted their first stop will be Barlinnie Prison.”