World famous because Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face lived there his life as a Carmelite from 1888 until his death in 1897, he is part of the Order of Carmel, which is spread all over the world. In France, 77 communities of sisters bring together around 1200 Carmelites; 9 convents of Brothers number around 75 Carmelites. Each year, around 150 pilgrims discover or rediscover outdoor spaces. Guided tours in several languages are offered by the Sanctuary reception service.
The Carmel of Lisieux is not a museum, but the place of life, silence, prayer of a community, which explains why the interior cannot be visited. The major places have remained intact (the boiler room, the refectory, the chapter room, Thérèse's last cell and of course the infirmary…). A virtual tour of these places is offered on the Carmel site.
History of Carmel
The Carmel of Lisieux chapel was built in the 1840s, and enlarged in 1923 to accommodate relics of Saint Teresa during her Beatification, and to respond to the influx of pilgrims coming to pray and venerate her. A room with memorabilia and a new sacristy for priests completed the ensemble.
The chapel has undergone alterations on several occasions. In particular, in 1969, following the liturgical reform requested by the Second Vatican Council, work which ended in 1973.
In 1997, in the spirit of the centenary of the death of Saint Thérèse and the declaration of Thérèse “Doctor of the Church”, the Carmelite community reflected on its future and decided to provide itself with places of life more suited to the needs of people. modern times which were realized in 2002. The historic part of the monastery thus preserves intact the trace of Saint Thérèse in these places where she lived, prayed (cell, infirmary where Thérèse died, etc.) while housing the workshops of sisters.
In 2006-2008 the Carmelites renovated the spaces dedicated to visitors. The layout of the Chapel favors a space of silence for prayer and participation in the liturgy of the sisters. Pilgrims can gather at the Shrine of Thérèse which contains her relics. (A Shrine is a chest in which the relics of a saint are kept.)
History of the Martin family
Three times Louis Martin took one of his daughters to Carmel: Pauline in 1882, Marie in 1884 and Thérèse in 1888. Céline entered Carmel after Louis' death in 1894. Léonie joined the Visitation of Caen in 1899.
For Thérèse, who is only 15, needs special permission, and Louis spares no effort. He supports his youngest, leading her first to Bayeux to see the bishop and then to Rome where Thérèse tries to obtain permission from the Pope himself.
The tomb of Saint Teresa is in the chapel. An exhibition space retraces the life of Thérèse in Carmel and her influence in the world.
Here is how Thérèse relates her first impressions upon entering the monastery on April 9, 1888:
«everything seemed lovely to me, I thought I was transported to a desert, our little cell especially charmed me, but the joy I felt was calm, the lightest zephyr did not make the calm waters ripple on which my little basket was sailing, no clouds were born. 'darkened my azure sky… ah! I was fully rewarded for all my trials… With what deep joy I repeated these words: “It is forever, always that I am here!…” »Manuscript A 69 v °
The Memorial “Thérèse her life in the Carmel, her message, her influence” is located in the courtyard of the Chapel of Carmel.
Intended for everyone, visitors and pilgrims, it wants to present Thérèse and make the essentials of her message known by making people want to read her writings.
In October 2011, the Carmelites of Lisieux, supported by the association of “Friends of Saint Thérèse and Carmel of Lisieux” undertook the overhaul of the museum trail (Memorial) located to the left of the Carmelite chapel. It will be inaugurated in February 2015.
It is made up of three areas: a general presentation, the life in the Carmel, and the gallery of exvotos.
In the first space, Thérèse de Lisieux welcomes us by affirming “I am your sister, your friend”. Visitors can discover the geographic, family and historical roots of Thérèse Martin. Then a showcase allows you to discover the Order of Carmel of which Thérèse is only one link: from the foundation in the 1838th century to the present day, through the reform of Thérèse d'Avila in the XNUMXth century and the founding of the Carmel of Lisieux in XNUMX. The following showcase is dedicated to the name of Thérèse: Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face.
The Story of a Soul and the various writings of Thérèse are then presented there, because it is with these publications that the “hurricane of glory” begins. The little way of trust and love and its solicitude for all human and spiritual distress is diffused in the world.
This first space is extended by the cross of the cemetery on which we can see the prayers written by the pilgrims. It ends with an evocation of the representations and the glory of Thérèse.
In the second space, “Au Carmel”, we enter through the door of Thérèse's 1st cell, treading the tiled floor on which she stepped. We discover life in Carmel in the time of Thérèse and various objects that she used. A film takes us into his last cell. Other films show us the Carmelite life of today, the testimony of which remains very much alive.
"Our little cell especially charmed me"Saint Therese
To see the location of Thérèse's first cell and other photos of Carmel in Thérèse's time, consult the magnificent archives site.
A third space allows you to discover the gallery of exvotos, the model of the Carmelite in the time of Thérèse as well as a diverse presentation of her coat of arms and their messages.
37 rue du Carmel, 14100 Lisieux
Chapel and Shrine:
Tuesday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 19 p.m.
Sundays, Mondays and public holidays from 7:45 a.m. to 19 p.m. (18 p.m. from November 30 to March 1)
in Week : 8h - 11 p.m. (with the Carmelites)
Sunday : 9 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. (with the Carmelites)
NB 8h (at the Hermitage chapel)
Memorial: 9 a.m. - 18 p.m.
Carmel Bookstore: 9 am-13pm and 14 pm-18pm
If you wish to come on a pilgrimage, it is preferable to contact the “Pastoral-Accueil” Service of the Sanctuary, 31 rue du Carmel in Lisieux.
Phone. : (00 33) (0) 2 31 48 55 08
Thérèse de Lisieux Bookstore
Created under the influence of the Carmel of Lisieux, the Central Office of Lisieux has been responsible since 1923 (year of the beatification of Sister Thérèse by Pope Pius XI) to disseminate the message of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, through the book and the object. On this site, you will find everything you need to discover or get to know better “the greatest saint of modern times” that the Church gives us as Doctor, Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. In particular, you will find a wide choice of books, in all areas of religion, to deepen your faith, but also monastic products whose sale allows monks and nuns to live on, as well as a wide range of articles.
Click on the following link to access the website and order online: Thérèse de Lisieux Bookstore