The morning ferry became a pilgrimage special at the end of last week (Thursday 12th September) as islanders headed for Oban to venerate the sacred relics of a favourite saint.

The relics of Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux arrived at St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban on Thursday during a three-week tour of Scotland.

St Thérèse was a Carmelite nun who died aged 24 in 1897. When her autobiography, the Story of a Soul, was published in 1898 she was recognised as a saint.

St Thérèse is known as ‘the little flower’ and is especially connected with the innocence of children, because of her death at a young age. The veneration of her relics included blessing of roses and rose petals brought to a special mass celebrated with schoolchildren, including children from Barra and South Uist.

Among those travelling from Barra was parish priest Fr John Paul Mackinnon, who was at Oban Cathedral on Thursday and Friday.

Pilgrim Katy MacNeil said: “St Thérèse holds a very special place in our hearts. It’s a five-hour boat journey from Barra but it’s well worth it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’s an honour to be able to come.”

Bishop Brian McGee, Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, said: “A lot of people have a deep devotion to Thérèse, I do myself, so to have her here is just great and to see people travelling from such a distance, from the Western Isles, it’s been really, really good.”

The relics of St Thérèse are at Paisley until tomorrow (Monday) when they will be moved on to Glasgow, before returning to France on Thursday (September 19th).

Coverage of all the events surrounding her visit can be found via Sancta Familia media at https://www.facebook.com/sanctafamiliamedia

The picture shows the congregation at the special children’s mass held on Friday lunchtime, with the casket of the saint in pride of place (Sancta Familia Media).