IN BAD TASTE?
The 'Odor of Sanctity'

February 2002By Dwight Longenecker

Dwight Longenecker is the editor of The Path to Rome and the author of Listen My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers. His study of Benedict and Thérèse of Lisieux will be published in the spring of 2002. He lives in England, where he works as a freelance writer and broadcaster.

My friend Sandra spent a quiet day with the Eucharistic ministers of her church, and they got to talking about St. Thérèse of Lisieux. One of the minister's family is French, and he said his grandmother was present at the exhumation of Thérèse's body at the Lisieux cemetery in 1910. The grandmother always recounted with wonder that she smelled an intense fragrance of flowers as the coffin was opened. Many people present experienced the same phenomenon.

I confess, this interests me because I had an experience of what's called the "odor of sanctity" as well. One summer I hitchhiked to Jerusalem from England, staying in monasteries along the way. Halfway through France I stopped at the town of Nevers, where St. Bernadette (who saw the Virgin Mary at Lourdes) spent her days as a nun. She died in 1879. Her body is supposed to be uncorrupted, and is still on display in the convent chapel.

At the convent I was assigned a room, went up to wash, then made my way down to the dining hall. At the table everybody was jabbering away in French and this woman sidles up and sits next to me.

She flashes me a big American smile and says, "Ah hope you won't mahnd if ah sit here." She's from Alabama.


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The real description of this most beautiful aroma is, "The smell of every flower ever blooming" You may find it in the Old testament Posted by: mike hurcum
September 20, 2006 10:31 AM EDT
"I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.As the apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons." Canticle of Canticles 2:1-3
They are indeed the "scented gift and remembrancer, designedly dropt", our wonderful, surprising saints.
VictoriaR29
Posted by: Victoriar29
September 20, 2006 11:19 AM EDT
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