The tombs of the Saints and the Blessed ones have throughout England’s history spoken a word of encouragement and hope to successive generations. Like those “witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us,” (Heb. 12: 1) of which the Letter to the Hebrews speaks, the shrines and relics of the saints in every corner of this land have urged us towards that victory which faith assures. We think of the body of St Cuthbert carried from Lindisfarne to its resting place in Durham amid the fury of the Norseman or the shrine of St Edward the Confessor standing at Westminster for almost a thousand years amid the changing scenes of our history. And we cannot forget those first missionaries to the English people urged by Pope St Gregory to bring relics to this land to awaken the hope of holiness and witness to the communion of saints. Amid a “new evangelization” fourteen centuries later few could have imagined the spirit of prayer and repentance the relics of St Therese of Lisieux would awaken in Birmingham, Manchester and London.
It is precisely this 'new evangelisation' which inspires our Society.