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Basilique Sainte-Thérèse: 2nd Largest Pilgrimage Site

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On the first real day in France, arriving at St. Therese was nothing less than astonishing. I could not believe such a grand incredible building existed in the world and dedicated to a person!

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Although I am Christian, I am not Catholic, so I was very lucky to be immersed with such knowledgeable guides that helped me understand who St. Therese was and her impact on religion.

1500What makes Sainte-Therese a Saint?

I asked that question and the answer is just as simple as it was complex. I was told that it was her entire life of faith.

 “The holiness of Thérèse is not based on extraordinary phenomena. It consists of “doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way !”

To try to explain the culture, the beauty, and the glory that was Basilique Sainte-Thérèse would be impossible, so it may be better to expose you through my lens.

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About the Basilica:

The idea of building a basilica at Lisieux in honour of the newly canonised saint (1925) met with much opposition from the local clergy. The town already possessed many religious buildings and it was thought that devotion to Thérèse, which enjoyed great popularity among the French soldiers during the First World War, had had its day.

However, Bishop Lemonnier was not persuaded by these objections. In 1925, he commissioned a Parisian architect to draw up a preliminary design. But the proposed design provoked many criticisms. It was felt – most notably abroad – that the proportions were somewhat cramped. For the most loved Saint in the world, nothing but the most beautiful basilica would suffice.

An internationally respected architect from the north of France, Mr. Louis-Marie Cordonnier, was asked to submit a design.france

Pope Pius XI had canonised Thérèse on 17th May 1925 and considered her to be the jewel of his Pontificate. He strongly desired the construction of a sanctuary at Lisieux. The Pope’s desire contributed to the reduction in local opposition and on the 21st September 1927, Bishop Lemmonier approved Cordonnier’s design. Bishop Suhard, who succeeded Bishop Lemmonier some months later, did not reverse the decision of his predecessor and the first works began in 1929.

The work advanced to the point that on the 30th September 1929, the foundation stone of the new building was laid. From that moment onwards, the building of the basilica progressed at an accelerated rate. In November 1929, Pius XI made it known to Bishop Suhard that the new basilica would have to be “very big, very beautiful, and as soon as possible !”

The Basilica suffered little during the bombings of June 1944 and the completion works (stained glass and mosaics) continued up until 11th July 1951, on which date the sanctuary was consecrated by Most Reverend Martin, Archbishop of Rouen, with the Papal Legate, Cardinal Feltin, presiding.

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I would highly recommend putting Liseux on your list and the Basilique Sainte-Thérèse as a must see monument.

From standing outside on the grounds, to walking through the beautiful Basilique and worship areas, its a serious site to behold and a perfect addition to a #SpiritualFrance tour!

Ready to see more pictures from this beautiful location?

I am sharing more in my post – Teresa de Lisieux : Basilique Sainte-Thérèse, so hope to see you there.

Spiritual France

Start planning your trip by following the French Tourism Office in the US , France Guide on Facebook

France Tourism on Twitter, RDVENFranceUSA on Pinterest and France Passion Magazine on Instagram.

32 Comments

  1. I am Catholic so this was something that I was so happy to see while you were traveling. If I ever get a chance to visit, I will be there for sure. That is just breathtaking.

  2. Wow, these are stunning pictures of this landmark! I would love to see something this grand in real life.

  3. Oh my goodness… I am in awe… I love churches and all of the history behind them. This one is just breathtaking…

  4. Wow what absolutely breathtaking photos. I would love to see these places in person, how gorgeous!

  5. I’m what you’d call the “mutt” of the generic Christian world 🙂 No specific associations or beliefs. But even I can appreciate the beauty and significance of places like this. It makes you FEEL, just looking the photos. I imagine that in real life it was extremely powerful. Beautiful shots – thank you for sharing <3

  6. I’m not Catholic either but I would love to visit there. When I was in Europe I love visiting all the places of worship and I could just feel the Lord. It was very uplifting for us.

  7. Beautiful! I loved visiting churches when I was in France, something I’d never do here. Love the history there!

  8. Your photos are fantastic and really captured the gorgeous buildings. I would love to go back to France.

  9. I’ve always wanted to visit France. If I ever do, this is the first place I’m visiting. It’s beautiful.

  10. Beautiful. I can’t think of a better word for it. It’s just the most lovely place I’ve ever seen!

  11. I love how beautiful all the structures are!! What a great history of these buildings and the area!

  12. Wow this looks incredible. Someday I will get to Europe and see all the amazing sights it has to offer!

  13. What beautiful churches. So ornate! What amazing places to worship our Lord and Savior!

  14. My husband and I are both from Catholic families. The artist in me can also appreciate the beauty in the architecture , design, and painting.

  15. These are beautiful photos. I would love to see these in person, I bet it would be fantastic.

  16. It is simply breathtaking! I could sit inside and stare all day and feel I haven’t seen its entire beauty. The same goes for the outside as well!

  17. Oh goodness I have loved following your journey. The photos are beautiful and makes me feel as though I am right there. Thanks for sharing and please, yes keep sharing.

  18. WOW! What gorgeous photos! Definitely looks like a place I need to visit one day!

  19. I so very much want to go to France. Your pictures are beautiful and I know I’ll be going to see this myself when I do make it to France in the future. Thanks for sharing

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