Relics returned – remembrance of saints past

This last weekend I recovered some relics which a friend had had for some years.

Included are

St. Leo the Great
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Dominic
St. Ignatius Loyola

They are all first class relics, from bone.

They join the other great saints in the Sabine Chapel, including St. Paul, whose special year we are still celebrating.

The four matching reliquaries which house the reacquired relics now were a recent acquisition.

Also recovered is an old reliquary given to me long ago with a sliver of the Cross of Our Lord.

I don’t have documents for this, but because of the wax seals on the back and the manner of its preparation I have little doubt that it was prepared by someone who was authorized.

This later reliquary, in the shape of a pectoral cross – which I assumed was used by a religious of some sort, was given to me in a box with many other things around the time of my conversion to Catholicism.  For a long while, years, I had no idea that it was a reliquary and didn’t pay much attention to it. Then one day when I chanced across it, I discovered that this Cross unscrewed at the top and slide open.

Imagine my surprise at what I found inside.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Trevor says:

    Do you need to notify Rome whenever first-class relics are transferred? I always thought there was some procedure involved. Good thing the seals are still intact, though.

  2. William says:

    hmmm… I think I know where you got those Reliquaries….

  3. Derik says:

    as a Dominican third order, my jaw dropped when reading this post

  4. Father Gregory says:

    I have one just like that, although the relics say: Ex oss. St. Alf, St. Clem, St. Ger, on the vertical and S. Teresa Inf.

    “Ex oss” indicates that they are from the bones of the various saints. I assume that the saints besides St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus are St. Alf(red), St, Clem(ment), and St. Ger(main or manus)

    I no longer remember how I cam into the possession of this reliquary crucifix.

  5. William says:

    I am glad that the Reliquaries arrived safely and I trust that you like them.
    Since you purchased those from me, I have been able to obtain a matching set of 8 gold
    plated reliquaries. [And they are being put to good use.]

  6. Derik: What is more, I left my first class relic of St. Catherine of Siena with the friend in question, as she is a consecrated virgin.

  7. Trevor: Do you need to notify Rome whenever first-class relics are transferred?

    No, not in these cases. If the relics had been sealed into an altar when it was consecrated then, yes, there would have been a process to “translate” them.

  8. Dave says:

    I, too, have the identical cross, but it contains relics of Ss. Aloysius Gonzaga, John Berchmanns, and Stanislaus Kostka. Must have belonged to a Jesuit.

  9. Charlotte says:

    Father Z,
    Since I began reading your blog in the last 6 or so months, I’ve never heard that your were a convert. May I simply ask from what did you convert from? Thanks!

  10. Mark says:

    Isnt there a process to apply for regenerating papers based on the Seal? Does anyone know how this is done?

  11. Maureen says:

    You can hear his conversion story on an mp3 of The Journey Home.

    Go to the EWTN Audio Archive and search “Programs” (not “Series”) for the word “Zuhlsdorf”, and you’ll find his appearance on 8/25/2000. There’s been at least one other time he’s been on the show, but I think they forgot to put his name on that one! :)

  12. thomas tucker says:

    I thought the sale of first class relics was forbidden under canon law. Not so? [True. Good thing these have never been bought or sold!]

  13. William says:

    It is. did anyone say that it was not?

  14. Hidden One says:

    I think Thomas thought that relics, rather than relinquaries, were sold.

  15. NoVA Man says:

    Fr. Z, where did you purchase this reliquary in the top photo? When I lived in Rome I acquired a fair number of 1st class, ex ossibus, Dominican relics (Sts. Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, Vincent Ferrer, Catherine of Siena, Catherine de Ricci, and Raymond Penafort); now I need proper and beautiful, yet cost effective, reliquaries.

  16. Richard says:

    The crucifix/reliquary looks like a Passionist cross. I have seen a reliquary just like this and within were first class relics of five Passionist saints (Paul of the Cross, Vincent Strambi, Gabriel of our Lady of Sorrows, Gemma Galgani, and Maria Gorretti [the last two considered Passionist due to close ties to the congregation]). Does the back of the crucifix have a Passionist heart symbol on it?

  17. adwsem says:

    At the risk of sounding like a partypooper, I would add a word of caveat. [Wow…. this sure is welcome!] My summer assignment parish recently received a sizable donation of relics – only do discover that a number were counterfeit. Though the seal was present and the “authenticating documents” accompanied the “relics” it turns out that the whole deal was fake. [Some of us know what we are about.] Imagine my initial surprise at having first class relics of the original apostles (how DO you get a first class relic of St. Peter, anyway?) and a “spine from the Crown of Thorns.” Fortunately, though, a number of relics seem genuine, especially the Passionist ones.

  18. thomas tucker says:

    I remember something somewhere about the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law.

  19. Brendan says:

    I don’t really know much about relics, but how does one acquire them, and is it lawful for a lay person to have a first-class relic for personal use?

  20. Nick says:

    Years ago requested relics from Rome. Time passed then I received a phone call requesting that I provide a letter proving that I was in communion with my bishop.

    I explained to the caller that I was not sure if I was in communion with my bishop as Rome was investigating him for “unusual” beliefs. “Oh…I see.” Said the caller.

    Couple of months later received my package from Rome….

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