The remains of St Bernadette of Lourdes and 1,000 litres of water from the spring revealed to her by the Virgin Mary will today begin a tour of Britain for the first time.
They were recently displayed across the US.
Miller’s daughter, Bernadette Soubirouis, is famous for her visions of the Virgin Mary in the 1850s.
The bone and tissue fragments will be shown in a golden reliquary in a sealed glass case at Westminster Cathedral from tomorrow (Saturday) until Monday morning.
They are accompanied by 1,000 litres of water from the springs at Lourdes that Bernadette said she was directed to by the Virgin Mary in 1858, when Bernadette was 14.
The water will be distributed for worshippers to wash their hands, faces or to drink.
The bishops of England and Wales’ website for the tour explains the cult of relics and quotes Pope Benedict XVI: “By inviting us to venerate the mortal remains of the martyrs and saints, the church does not forget that, in the end, these are indeed just human bones, but they are bones that belonged to individuals touched by the transcendent power of God.”
Westminster Cathedral will remain open overnight this Saturday and Sunday.
The relics will tour more than 50 venues around England, Scotland, and Wales, between now and 1 November.
About half a million people went to see the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux when they toured Britain in 2009.
The relics arrived by train in Folkestone to go on and spend the night at St Thomas of Canterbury in Fulham, west London.
Father Dennis Touw Tempelmans-Plat, parish priest at St Thomas of Canterbury, told The Times:
“In a simple way, this is Lourdes coming to them, rather than them going to Lourdes.
“It is hugely significant, and it won’t happen again, certainly in my lifetime. The relics are just human bones, but they are bones that belonged to an individual who was touched by the power of God.”
Find out more information, including the dates of the tour of the relics here. (opens in a new tab)