Relics inspire students to sanctity, bring church’s past into present


Students, eager to see and touch relics from the Catholic Church’s past as well as to make rosaries and other objects into third class relics, lined up in the Gentile Gallery on Sept. 22.

Franciscan University Residence Life sponsored a visitation from a couple who has a collection of relics from the Vatican. Each relic was stamped with the Vatican seal, guaranteeing truth to its origins.

A second class relic (piece of the staff) used by St. Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary. (Photo by Joseph Palmer)

Relics included: a stone from the Holy House of Loreto; snippets of Jesus’ swaddling clothes and manger; a chalice that is a reproduction of the chalice from the Last Supper and that has been touched to the original; a thorn from Jesus’ crown; a reproduction of Veronica’s Veil; a cross reliquary, including pieces from the purple cloak, whip and column of scourging, the holy sepulcher, burial linen and the true Cross; and more than 30 saint relics, including Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and Dismas, the Good Thief.

Christina Camilleri, a sophomore transfer student, was impressed that there were “so many aspects of our faith” presented.

She said, “It tied together the older church with more modern saints. Instead of just seeing St. Therese, it was all of them, back to Christ.”

Each relic had a story behind how it came to be part of this collection. The thorn from Christ’s crown was once venerated in Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s private chapel in Paris, and it was very precious to all French royalty for many years following. Louis IX, the only canonized king of France, is said to have paid 40,000 pieces of gold to procure it from Constantinople and to have walked barefoot all the way back to Paris, carrying the thorn on a pillow.

Camilleri summed the experience up.

“You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit through the relics,” she said. “It was powerful.”

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