On the 26th of November a wonderful celebration was held in Blackrock Hospice to honour the canonisation of St. Louis and St. Zelie Martin, who were the first parents to be canonised on 18th of October, Mission Sunday 2015. The Hospice is named after St. Louis and St. Zelie and the ward which consists of 12 rooms for the patients is named St. Therése, so it was appropriate that we honour both parents and daughter.
The Enclosed Carmelite Sisters had lived in Blackrock for over 175 years until it was sold to Noel Smyth in 1997 who had the hospice built. Noel had great devotion to Blessed Louis and Zelie and St. Therese and hence the Hospice was named after them.
We were honoured and delighted to have five Carmelite Sisters with us for the celebration. Sr. Mary Kevin Higgins who is 92 years old entered and lived for 52 years in Blackrock. The visit was her first time back after transferring to Kilmacud Monastery, Co. Dublin, returning after 18 years in a wheelchair. This visit brought her great joy and happiness and many happy memories. She marvelled at how the Church had remained the same in décor. Sr. Mary John now lives in Loughrea and came to celebrate and availed of a few days rest with her sisters in Firhouse. Sister John read the first reading and was very privileged to be asked. Sr. Mary Anne from Firhouse joined us also for the celebration.
Before the beginning of Mass Sr. Therése Marie from Kilmacud gave a very interesting talk on the history of the Martin family which was warmly welcomed by all present. Sr. Therese Marie has researched the family over many years.
Bishop Eamon Walsh celebrated Mass. He spoke on the total trust that Louis and Zelie had in God’s will for them. It was similar to the total trust of a child which leads to love. That was the experience that Louis and Zelie gave St. Therese and her family. Louis and Zelie, experienced traumas at the loss of their children, but the effects of the traumas were no obstacle to sanctity. They both accepted their own powerlessness, that God might be all powerful in their lives. They had profound love for each other and for their children. They had deep faith and while living a normal life, showed their children what it was to be selfless and gave each of them space to become what God was calling them to be.
“Whoever does not love does not know God: God is Love” (1 John;4:8)
We were honoured to have the Relics of Sts. Louis, Zelie and St. Therése present. Prayer leaflets were distributed to all in attendance, staff, volunteers and friends, including Noel Smyth who was thrilled to see his friends the Carmelite Sisters. Noel brought the photo album of the closure of the Monastery and the Sisters were delighted to look back and see photos of their original community and friends who attended the closure. We were delighted to have Sr. Phyllis Behan Provincial and other Sisters of Charity.
Music for the Mass was provided by the Frascati Singers accompanied by organist Sr. Mary Threadgold R.S.C. After Mass there was lovely time for all present to meet the Sisters and enjoy afternoon tea, coffee and all kinds of cakes and pastries.
The celebration was a wonderful success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. The presence of the Carmelite Sisters made it a very special celebration.