Henri Rubillon s.j.,
Fernando Guimarães cssr
The precious urn containing the relics of St. C of the Child Jesus is a significant expression of the extraordinary cult of the Brazilian in her image. In fact, it is the concrete result of a true "love story" between this saint and the Brazilian nation, which began with Father Henri Rubillon of the Society of Jesus (1866-1931).
Born February 15, 1866 in St Manvieu, Father Henri Rubillon started in the dioceses of Bayeux and Lisieux his studies at the Seminary of Caen. In 1888, when Thérèse was requesting the Caramel of Lisieux, he entered the novitiate of the Jesuits. His religious profession was started in November 13, 1890, two months after that of Thérèse (September 8, 1890).
In August 1897, when Thérèse was near her death, was sent as a missionary in Brazil. To ship to Brazil, went through Bordeaux, Paris and Lisieux.
The archives of the Lisieux Caramel preserved their 174 letters (the first dated 1913), 46 cards, written many articles and some photographs.
Through reading "Story of a Soul", F. Rubillon discovered the spirituality of Thérèse. With enthusiasm, it became very fast the "herald of Thérèse in Brazil," and the design of the Carmelite of Lisieux, to the point that Mother Agnese
(Paulina, Thérèse's sister), wrote some time later: "How does your soul resembles that of little Thérèse! " (Letter dated February 16, 1922).
Professor at the Anchieta College in the city of Nova Friburgo (Rio de Janeiro State), F. Rubillon developed numerous missions and spiritual rites popular throughout Brazil. Wherever he went, formed groups that gave the title of "Sister Thérèse of the Legionaries," with the mission of spreading the "Story of a Soul" and the spiritual message of the French Carmelite.
In 1919, the Carmelites have suggested him to offer a flag in honor of Brazil, with the flags of other nations, the chapel of the monastery. F. Rubillon put himself in action with such success that in 1920 not one but two flags were carried to Lisieux. That the city of Sao Paulo was carried in an urn made of carved jacaranda, artistically carved. This urn was exposed during a certain time in one of the major commercial centers of Sao Paulo, before being sent to Lisieux, the public was surprised that it did not cease to praise him, which is why the national press became interested in this really wide.
The collect of funds for the acquisition of the flag had been so productive that Fr.Rubillon thought of using this "extra" to get a precious chalice, he wanted to devote the ceremony of beatification of Thérèse, but the Carmelites responded that the cup had already been offered by a generous benefactor.
Did you then another proposal: why not offer a reliquary made of wood, designed to expose the dress of Carmelite Thérèse? The Father has accepted the idea with enthusiasm, but then came the disappointment: Someone had already made the offer!
At this point, in a letter dated September 9, 1920, proposed to the Convent Father Rubillon that offered a Reliquary where they could deposit the bones of Thérèse. This may have been - well written by Mother Agnese - "the most intimate contact that Brazil could want with the relics of the little Thérèse."
Fr. Rubillon immediately accepted, and November 25, 1920 has launched in major newspapers in Brazil a true national campaign, with the enthusiastic support of all the Cardinals of the country. Rich and poor, priests, religious or secular, from north to south, responded with such generosity that the end of 1920 Fr Rubillon could send the Convent of Lisieux the amount of 5,000 contos, which after six months had already reached the sum of 12,000 contos. But the offers continued to pour in plenty, and the end of 1922 the collec has reached the value of 55,000 contos, a sum that represented a fortune.
The design of the reliquary was entrusted to a sculptor of Caen, Charles Tardy, the same as the season was in charge of reform of the Carmelite Convent Chapel, under the direction of Sister Genevieve (Celina, another sister of Thérèse). A goldsmith from Paris, H. Brunet, finished the piece, decorating it with silver, gold, onyx and lapis lazuli.
And this "Reliquary of Brazil," as it was called, was taken to France after World War II, still being carried on pilgrimages from October 1994, in honor of the centenary of the death of Thérèse (1997).
Nestled in the dioceses of Belgium in 1996, then Altötting in Germany as well as in Italy in Rimini, the "Reliquary of Brazil" was present in Paris during the World Youth Day in August 1997 and then ported to Rome October 19 ,1997, a proclamation to Thérèse as "Doctor of the Church."
Looking very carefully distinguished this Reliquary Shield of the Carmelites and those of Brazil, indicating the indissoluble union of Thérèse of Lisieux, and this vast South American country
The generosity of Brazilian people was such that, then the realization of this commitment, it was possible to finance are two other reliquaries. In fact, the Carmelites of Lisieux, after an attempted robbery inside the monastery, fearing for the safety of the relics and reliquary, ordered the construction of a second urn, true copy of the first, but made of wood and silver gilt, for to contain the relics of Therésè and remain under the image that is in the chapel of the Carmelites. For the relics themselves, it was a golden urn in silver, which now contain the new wooden reliquary.
And precisely this second Reliquary, in wood and silver gilt, was exposed to the veneration of the faithful during the celebrations for the Centenary of "Entrance into the Religious Life" by Thérèse, the Basilica of Lisieux.
For this reason called "Reliquary of the Centenary," Thérèse's relics were in "intercontinental pilgrimage", which was itself beginning in Brazil date of
December 12, 1997 in the Archdiocese of Salvador. Subsequently, he was more than 90 dioceses in Brazil, expressing a welcome worthy of great veneration and love the Brazilian people gave Thérèse, after the admirable "adventure" of Father Henri Rubillon.
Note: As previously announced this small article, published in March 1998, then the Reliquary was by all Latin American countries, after the United States and Canada, making Europe, has been ported to Moscow, Siberia, Asia (Philippines and Hong Kong), and is now touring Australia and Oceania. As documented the articles published in "Thérèse of Lisieux " Magazine, everywhere the reception was warm and enthusiastic, surpassing all expectations. Thus is fulfilled the will of Thérèse, Protector of Missions with S. Francesco Saverio, of wanting to "walk the earth, even the most distant islands..."