A work of art, no matter its renown or historical significance, can be a bit of a personal, family matter. This is especially true for a unique painting hanging on a wall in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower in San Antonio, Texas.
The art shows Saint Thérèse, known as “The Little Flower of Jesus,” holding flowers and a cross while surrounded by angels. It’s a beautiful painting, made more touching by the fact it was made by the saint’s own blood sister, Caline Martin. The portrait was blessed by a Pope and even used in the procession celebrating the saint’s canonization in 1927.
Though Saint Thérèse’s life was short (she died at age 24 of tuberculosis), her legacy has lived on. She had a simple, practical approach to spirituality which resonated with many Catholics. As such, she’s viewed as one of the most venerated saints in modern times.
The painting was donated to the basilica in San Antonio because it was the first one in the United States dedicated to Saint Thérèse. The church also holds her writing desk as well as other relics and works of art.
As for the church itself, there are just four recognized basilicas in the state of Texas and only 73 in the entire United States. San Antonio’s was built during the Great Depression and opened its doors immediately after construction finished.
Know Before You Go
Visits are free, but donations for restoration are always welcome. The painting is viewable to visitors upon request. Ask anyone working at the church and they will direct you to the painting and may give you a tour, too.