Lisieux and Fatima

8th – 14th May 2024

Led by Fr Liam Finnerty, OCD and Fr Kelvin Ekhoegbe, OCD

“Why I Love You O Mary”

Living Mary’s “Yes” with St Therese

In celebrating the centenary of St. Therese of Lisieux, we make this journey in the praise of God’s glory. The God who formed His little daughter into a replica of his masterpiece, Mary Immaculate. At age six Therese wrote, “I want to be a very good girl. The Blessed Virgin is my dear Mother and little children usually resemble their mother.” Therese became, as it were, a reflection of the Blessed Virgin by her perfect imitation of her virtues. It is pre­cisely Mary’s hidden virtues, living the “yes” of Mary in her ordinary life at Nazareth, which are echoed in the life and writings of St. Therese.

During this pilgrimage with St. Therese we will explore her singular devotion to Mary. Pondering on her beautiful poem, “why I Love you O Mary”, we will discover a renewed love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayerfully journey to Our Lady’s Shrine in Fatima where we’ll renew our love and devotion to her.

Day 1: Our Lady’s Little Flower

London – Paris – Lisieux

Meet your group Leader at London St. Pancras International Station for a train Journey to Paris. On arrival you will be conveyed in an air condition bus to the accommodation centre in Lisieux.

Evening: Dinner at the accommodation centre

Day 2: Meeting the Virgin of the Smile

Lisieux – Alencon – Les Buissonnets – Lisieux

“Meeting the Virgin of the Smile”

Oh! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you,
Why your sweet name thrills my heart,
And why the thought of your supreme greatness
Could not bring fear to my soul.
If I gazed upon you in your sublime glory,
Surpassing the splendour of all blessed,
I could not believe that I am your child
O Mary, before you I would lower my eyes

During this novena of Masses, on Pentecost Sunday, May 13, 1883, Therese was suddenly cured. She narrates the experience in this way: “All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that never had I seen anything so attractive; her face was suffused with an ineffable benevolence and tenderness, but what penetrated to the very depths of my soul was the ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin. My pain vanished and two great tears crept down my cheeks – tears of pure joy” (p.46)”. She would later refer to her as the “Virgin of the Smile”.

Evening: Dinner at the accommodation centre

Day 3: More a Mother than a Queen


Oh! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you,
Why your sweet name thrills my heart,
And why the thought of your supreme greatness
Could not bring fear to my soul.
If I gazed upon you in your sublime glory,
Surpassing the splendour of all blessed,
I could not believe that I am your child
O Mary, before you I would lower my eyes

Here are the humble words in which St. Therese expounds this great mystery: “Of course, the Blessed Virgin is Queen of Heaven and Earth, but she is more Mother than Queen, and we must not say that, because of her privileges, she eclipses the glory of all the saints, as the sun on its rising makes the stars disappear. Mon Dieu! How strange that would be! A Mother who made the glory of her children disappear!”

The Mother of God shares her all with us. She is immaculately generous to others with the graces and blessings she has received. God has given her the gift of making the most pure and perfect gift of herself. As Therese says in her last and greatest poem, Pourquoi je t’aime, ô Marie, “Why I love you, O Mary:”

Evening: Dinner at the accommodation centre

Day 4: The Little Way, Our Lady’s Way

Lisieux – Lisbon – Fatima

While waiting for Heaven, O my dear Mother
I want to live with you, to follow you each day.
Mother, contemplating you, I joyfully immerse myself,
Discovering in your heart abysses of love.
Your motherly gaze banishes all my fears.
It teaches me to cry, it teaches me to rejoice.
Instead of scorning pure and simple joys,
You want to share in them, you deign to bless them.

St. Therese meditates with the eyes and the heart of the very sweet Mother of Jesus, the very life of her Son. In this contemplation, Therese understood that the virtues of Mary belongs to her, since “the mother’s treasure belongs to the child, I do not tremble when I see my weakness.” She draws from the maternal presence of Mary, the audacity to let herself be loved by the crucifies Christ in order to stand with her near the Cross of Jesus her Son, “O Mary, you appear to me at the top of Calvary.”

Evening: Dinner at the accommodation centre

Image: Luidger, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Day 5: Living Mary’s Yes


“Living Mary’s Yes”

Soon I’ll hear that sweet harmony.
Soon I’ll go to beautiful Heaven to see you.
You who came to smile at me in the morning of my life,
Come smile at me again … Mother… It’s evening now !…
I no longer fear the splendour of your supreme glory.
With you I’ve suffered and now I want
To sing on your lap, Mary, why I love you,
And to go on saying that I am your child !…

Therese really believed that her fidelity to the smallest demands of her everyday life made a difference to the eternal salvation of souls.  In 1910 her young novice, Sister Marie of the Trinity, testified about this attitude:

“Her love for God  gave her  a burning zeal for the salvation of souls, especially those of priests; she offered all her sacrifices for their sanctification, and urged me to do likewise.  She called sinners “her children” and took her role as their “mother” very seriously.  She was passionately fond of them, and worked for them with untiring fervor.

One washing-day, I was sauntering along to the laundry, looking at the flowers in the garden as I went, when along came Sister Therese at a brisk pace, and overtook me.  “Is that how one hurries with children to feed and work to do so they can live?” she said, and then, dragging me with her, “Come on, let’s hurry; if we amuse ourselves here, our children will die of hunger.”  

Evening: Dinner at the accommodation centre

Day 6: Our Lady of the Chain of Roses

Sanctuary of the Rosary

“Our Lady of the Chain of Roses”

The Saviour knew your immense tenderness.
He knew the secrets of your maternal heart.
Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you
When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.

St Thérèse understood the heart of prayer. She understood that the highest fulfillment of her vocation was to be loved in the heart of the Church. In her autobiography, she wrote: “For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus”

“[but] When alone (I am ashamed to admit it) the recitation of the rosary is more difficult for me than the wearing of an instrument of penance. I feel I have said this so poorly! I force myself in vain to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary; I don’t succeed in fixing my mind on them”.

For a long time I was desolate about this lack of devotion which astonished me, for I love the Blessed Virgin so much that it should be easy for me to recite in her honour prayers which are so pleasing to her. Now I am less desolate; I think that the Queen of heaven, since she is my MOTHER, must see my good will and she is satisfied with it”.

Day 7: Mary went in Haste

Fatima – Lisbon – London

“Mary went in Haste”

Yes, you rejoice that He gives us his life,
The infinite treasures of his divinity !…
How can we not love you, O my dear Mother,
On seeing so much love and so much humility ?

Prepare to Journey to Lisbon after gathering the fruits of the retreat pilgrimage in a prayerful space.

What is Included

  • Flights
  • Accommodation – 3 Nights in Lisieux and 3 Nights in Fatima
  • Breakfast and dinner daily,
  • Pilgrim Kit,
  • Entrance fees & guiding,
  • Candle Light Procession
  • Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Gratuities

Not included

  • Lunches and inflight meals
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single Room supplement
  • Personal Travel Expenses

Pilgrimage information

You will be accompanied by friars leading the pilgrimage and travelling is done by air-conditioned private coach. Days usually begin at 8am, and generally returning between 7pm, with dinner served afterwards. Each day features morning and afternoon sessions with prayer times, with an organised lunch time to break up the day.


Our departure from London will be by train to Paris and then by Coach to Lisieux. We depart Lisieux by coach to Paris on flight to Lisbon and then by coach to Fatima. The flight includes one 23 kgs baggage allowance and allocated seat. For Flight times please contact the administrator (

Flights Inclusive

This option offers the opportunity to join others on the booked train/flight from London to Paris. Each person is advised to arrive at the International Train Station 2 hours prior to departure time. As stated above, baggage allowance is 23kg.

Flights Exclusive

The option of excluding flights offers the opportunity for those joining the Pilgrimage from different countries to arrange their flights and other logistics from the airport to the accommodation centre. However, should anyone wish to join the coach from the Train Station to the accommodation centre, prior arrangement is to be made and flights arranged to align with the “official” pilgrimage time of arrival as the coach leaves immediately.


Lisieux and Fatima.

Single Occupancy

Single Occupancy offers an accommodation for one person in a room.

Double Occupancy

Double occupancy is open to couples, family and friends who desire to share a room with twin beds. However, individuals who wish to share a room with someone else who may want that option should contact the administrator to check availability. (

Dates and How to book

Our programmeLeadersDatesAvailability
A retreat-Pilgrimage
7 Days of Prayer encounter with St Therese
Fr Liam Finnerty, OCD and Fr Kelvin Ekhoegbe, OCD8th – 14th May 2024Download poster:
Lisieux and Fatima poster
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How to book

1. Click on the “Purchase Now” button and pay £150 non-refundable deposit to secure your participation.
2. Flexible payment available, however, final balance to be paid by February 1st 2024. Contact us for details.
3. You can choose to pay the full payment.

Lisieux and Fatima
Pilgrimage Excluding Flights

£150 (non-refundable deposit) (part of the total amount)
£756 (double occupancy full payment)
£888 (single occupancy full payment)

Lisieux and Fatima
Pilgrimage Including Flights

£150 (non-refundable deposit) (part of the total amount)
£998 (double occupancy full payment)
£1065 (single occupancy full payment)