First Class Relics
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Anne, mother of The Blessed Virgin Mary (July 26th)
(Relics: Apt, France; Bologna, Italy; Sainte-Anne d’Auray, France; Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, Quebec, Canada; Vienna, Austria)
Cathédrale Sainte-Anne / La Cathédrale d’Apt
(Saint Anne’s Cathedral / Cathedral of Apt)
44 Place de la Cathédrale
84400 Apt, France
*The first chapel on the left side of the nave is dedicated to St Anne. A reliquary niche within this chapel contains busts of several saints including St Anne.
*It is uncertain how the relics of St Anne arrived in this church. Popular legend claims that they were brought by St Lazarus in the 1st century. However, it is more likely that they were transferred from the Holy Land to Constantinople and then brought to France after 1204 AD.
Sanctuaire Sainte-Anne d’Auray
(Sanctuary of Saint Anne of Auray)
9 Rue de Vannes
56400 Sainte-Anne d’Auray, France
*A small chapel dedicated to St Anne was destroyed at this location in the 7th century. Ten centuries later it is said that St Anne began appearing to a simple villager and requested that a new church be built over this ancient chapel. A sanctuary was then built and a relic of St Anne was given to this church as a gift.
Anthony, abbot (January 17th)
St Anthony (d. 356, Mt. Colzim, Egypt) (Relics: Zaafarana, Egypt; Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, France; Arles, France)
St Anthony requested to be buried secretly in an unmarked grave. Therefore, the exact location of his tomb is unknown. Nevertheless several traditions have arisen about his relics. One tradition holds that his tomb rests directly under St Anthony’s Monastery in Egypt which was built close to where St Anthony had lived as a hermit. A second tradition holds that his tomb was discovered and that some of these relics were transported to France.
(Abbey of St Anthony)
38160 Saint-Antoine l’Abbaye, France
*This monastery is located west of the city of Grenoble, France
*Relics of St Anthony are said to have been transferred here around the 11th century.
(Parish of Saint Trophime)
12 Rue du Cloître
13200 Arles, France
*Some relics of St Anthony are also said to rest in this church.
Benedict, abbot (July 11th) and Scholastica, virgin (February 10th)
St Benedict (b. 480, Norcia, Italy) (d. 547, Monte Cassino, Italy) (Relics: Monte Cassino, Italy; Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, France; Brescia, Italy)
St Scholastica (b. 480, Norcia, Italy) (d. 547, Monte Cassino, Italy) (Relics: Monte Cassino, Italy; Juvigny-sur-Loison, France)
It is uncertain if the relics of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica were moved to Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, France in the seventh century or if they still remain at Monte Cassino, Italy.
Abbaye de Fleury (Fleury Abbey)
1 Avenue de l’Abbaye
45730 Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, France
*Tradition claims that during the latter part of the 7th century relics of St Benedict and St Scholastica were stolen from Montecassino and brought to this city in France. Today this is still a hotly debated issue with both shrines claiming to have the authentic relics. The relics located here rest within the crypt of the church.
(The Church of Saint Denis)
2 Rue Grande
55600 Juvigny-sur-Loison, France
*In the year 874 the relics of St Scholastica, which had been stolen from Montecassino as previously noted, were placed within the abbey located here. This abbey was later destroyed; however, the relics remain and are preserved within this church. They are processed annually during St Scholastica’s feast in February.
St Bernadette (d. 1879, Nevers, France) (Relics: Nevers, France)
Couvent de Saint-Gildard
(Convent of Saint Gildard)
34 Rue Saint-Gildard
58000 Nevers, France
*The incorrupt body of St Bernadette is enshrined to the right of the main altar.
Bernard, abbot and doctor (August 20th)
St Bernard (d. 1153, Clairvaux, France) (Relics: Troyes, France)
Cathédrale de Troyes (Troyes Cathedral)
10000 Troyes, France
*During the 13th century this church acquired an impressive collection of relics and artifacts that had been looted from the churches of Constantinople in 1204. During the French Revolution, however, many of these relics and historic treasures were destroyed and the church itself was converted into a Temple of Reason. The church has since then been returned to sacred use and is known in particular for its expansive and impressive stained glass windows.
*One of the significant relics still preserved by this church is part of the skull of St Bernard. This relic can be found in the Treasury of this church.
Chinese and Vietnamese Martyrs (July 9th) (November 24th)
Honored on July 9th are 120 martyrs who died in China from the years 1648-1930. (Relics: Paris, France)
Honored on November 24th are 117 martyrs who died in Vietnam during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. A further martyr, Blessed Andrew Phú Yên, was beatified in the year 2000. During these persecutions more than 100,000 Vietnamese Catholics lost their lives for their faith (Relics: Paris, France; Penang, Malaysia)
Missions Etrangères de Paris
(Foreign Missions of Paris)
128 Rue du Bac
75007 Paris, France
*This shrine preserves relics from a number of French missionaries who were martyred in Asia. Two of these martyrs, St Pierre Dumoulin-Borie and St Jean-Louis Bonnard, are among the 117 canonized Vietnamese martyrs. Also preserved here are some remains from Bishop Jean-Gabriel Dufresse who was martyred at the age of 64 in China.
Denis, bishop and martyr (October 9th) and Louis (August 25th)
St Denis (d. 3rd century, Paris, France) (Relics: Saint-Denis, France)
A sensational legend holds that after St Denis was beheaded he picked up his own head and miraculously carried it to the place where he wanted to be buried. Therefore, in art he is often depicted as holding his own head in his hands.
St Louis (d. 1270, Tunis, Tunisia) (Relics: Monreale, Sicily; Saint-Denis, France)
In 1270 St Louis set out across the Mediterranean to begin the Eighth Crusade. Upon reaching the shores of Tunis his group met a number of setbacks. As they waited for reinforcements to fortify their position many within the group including St Louis caught dysentery and died. As the defeated crusaders returned to Europe they brought the remains of St Louis through Italy and France attracting many crowds of mourners along the way. His remains were then buried in Saint-Denis Cathedral in Paris, France. The Sicilian city of Monreale also continues to claim to have some of his relics.
Cathédrale de Saint-Denis
(Cathedral of Saint Denis)
1 Place de la Legion d’Honneur
93200 Saint-Denis, France
*Tradition claims that this church was erected over the tomb of St Denis.
*For centuries the remains of St Louis also rested in this church. However, during the French Revolution these remains were destroyed. Only a finger was preserved.
Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor (January 24th) and Jane Frances de Chantal, religious (August 12th)
St Francis de Sales (d. 1622, Lyon, France) (Relics: Treviso, Italy; Annecy, France)
St Jane Frances de Chantal (d. 1641, Moulins, France) (Relics: Annecy, France)
Basilique de la Visitation
(Basilica of the Visitation)
11 Avenue de la Visitation
74000 Annecy, France
*The remains of St Francis de Sales and St Jane Frances de Chantal rest within two different sarcophagi near the communion rail at the base of the main sanctuary. St Francis de Sales is on the left and St Jane Frances de Chantal is on the right. Each sarcophagus is overlaid with a bronze relief depicting the saint’s image.
Hilary, bishop and doctor (January 13th)
St Hilary (d. 368, Poitiers, France) (Relics: Poitiers, France)
(Church of Saint Hilary)
26 Rue Saint-Hilaire
86000 Poitiers, France
*This church is built over the ancient tomb of St Hilary. In 1572 this tomb was plundered by French Huguenots and St Hilary’s relics lost. Nearly a century later in 1657 a miraculous discovery of his relics was claimed in Le Puy, France. These relics were then transferred to Poitiers some years later. Today they are located within an ornate bronze reliquary in the crypt of this church.
John the Baptist, martyr (June 24th, August 29th)
St John the Baptist (Relics: Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy; Siena, Italy; Amiens, France; Munich, Germany; Damascus, Syria)
Cathédrale d’Amiens (Cathedral of Amiens)
30 Place Notre Dame
80000 Amiens, France
*Part of the skull of St John Baptist rests within this cathedral. The authenticity is uncertain since this skull is also said to be located at a number of other places throughout the world including San Silvestro in Capite in Rome, Italy, the Residenz Museum in Munich, Germany, and the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.
John Vianney, priest (August 4th)
St John Vianney (d. 1859, Ars-sur-Formans, France) (Relics: Ars-sur-Formans, France)
(Sanctuary of Ars)
451 Rue Jean Marie Vianney
01480 Ars-Sur-Formans, France
*The body of St John Vianney is enshrined in this church on the right side of the nave. His heart rests within a small chapel located just outside of this church.
Lazarus, Martha (July 29th), and Mary Magdalene (July 22nd)
St Lazarus (Relics: Marseille, France; Larnaca, Cyprus)
St Martha (Relics: Tarascon, France)
St Mary Magdalene (Relics: Rome, Italy; Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume, France; Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume, France; Vézelay, France)
A tradition, which developed in the 13th century, holds that after the martyrdom of St James the Greater in Jerusalem many Christians were evicted from the city and placed upon a boat without a sail or a rudder. Miraculously this group, which included Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and Martha, reached the southern shores of France. The group then began spreading the faith in the area. A legend holds that St Lazarus was able to convert a number of people in Marseille and then became its first bishop. Later during the persecution of Domitian he was beheaded. Martha is said to have eventually made it to the city of Tarascon. The local people of this city were terrorized by a ferocious beast; therefore, to test the power of Martha’s Christian religion they challenged her to a duel with the beast. Miraculously with only a cross and some holy water Martha was able to calm the beast. As a result of this miracle the people in this town converted to Christianity. Mary Magdalene, however, chose a different path. She gave herself to a life of prayer and spent thirty years as a hermit in a cave above the present-day village of Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume. A competing theory alleges that Mary Magdalene was buried in Ephesus close to the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From here her relics were transferred to Constantinople and then to Western Europe.
Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure / La Major
(Cathedral of Saint Mary Major / The Major)
Place de la Major
13002 Marseille, France
*This impressive church was completed in 1896. It replaced an older cathedral that can trace its origins back to a 5th century monastery. This church has traditionally been in possession of some relics of St Lazarus including his skull.
(Cathedral of Saint Lazarus)
Place du Terreau
71400 Autun, France
*This church was built in the 12th century to hold the relics of St Lazarus. His tomb, however, was destroyed during the French Revolution.
Collégiale Royale Sainte-Marthe
(Royal Collegiate of Saint Martha)
Place de la Concorde
13150 Tarascon, France
*For centuries the relics of St Martha resided in this church. However, during the French Revolution most of these relics were stolen and subsequently lost. Presently only small bone fragments remain. They rest within a bust reliquary in a chapel set behind an iron grate.
Grotte de Sainte-Marie-Madeleine
(Grotto of Saint Mary Magdalene)
83640 Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume, France
*The Grotto of Saint Mary Magdalene is carved into the side of a mountain located just to the east of Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume.
*Tradition claims that St Mary Magdalene spent the last 30 years of her life here. Some relics of St Mary Magdalene are located under the altar.
(Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene)
2 Route Asquins
89450 Vézelay, France
*Tradition holds that St Mary Magdalene was originally buried in the Church of St Maximin in the present day French city of Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume. In the 8th century her remains were unearthed and transferred to Vézelay, France. Five centuries later the King of Naples, Charles II, claimed to have found her original tomb in St Maximin. In 1281 he was able to obtain official recognition of these relics. As a result, the shrine in Vézelay lost its prominence. Then in the 16th century the relics that remained in Vézelay were burned by French Huguenots. Presently only an empty tomb and a few small relics remain within this church. They are located in the Carolingian crypt.
(Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene)
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
83470 Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume, France
*In the 13th century this church was built over the recently found tomb of St Mary Magdalene. Five centuries later, however, it was severely damaged by supporters of the French Revolution. Despite this damage, both the tomb and a relic of St Mary Magdalene’s skull were saved. These relics can be visited within the crypt of this church.
Louis Grignion de Montfort, priest (April 28th)
St Louis Grignion de Montfort (d. 1716, Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, France) (Relics: Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, France)
Basilique Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
(Basilica of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort)
Rue Jean Paul II
85290 Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, France
*The tomb of St Louis Grignion de Montfort rests within the crypt. The room where he died can be visited at an oratory located about one block from the basilica.
Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin (October 16th) and Claude de la Colombiere
St Margaret Mary Alacoque (d. 1690, Paray-le-Monial, France) (Relics: Paray-le-Monial, France)
St Claude de la Colombiere (d. 1682, Paray-le-Monial, France) (Relics: Paray-le-Monial, France)
Chapelle des Apparitions
(Chapel of the Apparitions)
16 Rue de la Visitation
71600 Paray-le-Monial, France
*The body of St Margaret Mary Alacoque is enshrined within this small church.
*This is also the church where she received the visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
La Chapelle de la Colombiere
(The Chapel of Colombiere)
71600 Paray-le-Monial, France
*The remains of St Claude de la Colombiere are enshrined within this church.
Martin of Tours, bishop (November 11th)
St Martin of Tours (d. 397, Candes-Saint-Martin, France) (Relics: Tours, France)
(Basilica of Saint Martin)
7 Rue Baleschoux
37000 Tours, France
*This church was recently rebuilt in 1924 to replace the ancient church that was destroyed during the French Revolution. In the crypt of this church is a restored tomb of Saint Martin of Tours.
Perpetua, martyr (March 7th)
Saint Perpetua (d. 203, Carthage, Tunisia) (Relics: Carthage, Tunisia; Vierzon, France)
Paroisse Notre Dame (Parish of Notre Dame)
4 Rue du Presbytère
18100 Vierzon, France
*Saints Perpetua and Felicity were originally buried in Tunisia. A tradition, however, maintains that at some point relics of St Perpetua were transferred to France. By 903 these relics were brought to the French city of Vierzon where they were first placed in L’abbaye Saint-Pierre and then later transferred to this church.
*The chapel on the right side of the apse is dedicated to St Perpetua. Her relics, however, are only presented to the public once a year.
Peter Julian Eymard, priest (August 2nd)
St Peter Julian Eymard (d. 1868, La Mure, France) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Paris, France)
Chapelle du Corpus-Christi
(Corpus Christi Chapel)
23 Avenue de Friedland
75008 Paris, France
*The remains of St Peter Julian Eymard rest within a glass case in this chapel.
St Simon Stock (d. 1265, Bordeaux, France) (Relics: Aylesford, United Kingdom, Bordeaux, France)
(Saint Andrew’s Cathedral)
Place Pey Berland
33000 Bordeaux, France
*The body of St Simon Stock rests below an altar on the left side of the nave.
Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor (October 1st)
St Therese of the Child Jesus (d. 1897, Lisieux, France) (Relics: Lisieux, France)
Monastère du Carmel de Lisieux
(Carmelite Monastery of Lisieux)
37 Rue du Carmel
14100 Lisieux, France
*St Therese lived and prayed in this convent with her Carmelite community from 1888 to 1897. Today the majority of her relics rest within a golden casket in the chapel of this convent below the statue of her likeness.
Basilique Sainte-Therese de Lisieux
(Basilica of Saint Therese of Lisieux)
Avenue Jean XXIII
14100 Lisieux, France
*The right arm bones of St Therese are enshrined within an impressive reliquary in this basilica.
Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor (January 28th)
St Thomas Aquinas (b. 1225, Roccasecca, Italy) (d. 1274, Fossanova, Italy) (Relics: Toulouse, France; Aquino, Italy; Naples, Italy)
Couvent des Jacobins (Convent of the Jacobins)
Place des Jacobins
31000 Toulouse, France
*From 1274 to 1369 the remains of St Thomas Aquinas rested in Fossanova, Italy. In 1369 they were transferred to the Convent of the Jacobins in Toulouse, France. They remained here until the French Revolution. At this time they were moved for their protection a few blocks away to the Basilica of St Sernin in Toulouse. From 1789 to 1974 they remained within this church. Finally, in 1974 in honor of the 700th anniversary of the death of St Thomas Aquinas the relics were returned to the Convent of the Jacobins in Toulouse. They now rest within a bronze chest placed under an altar in this church.
Vincent, deacon and martyr* (January 23rd)
St Vincent (d. 304, Valencia, Spain) (Relics: Lisbon, Portugal; Castres, France)
(Cathedral of Saint Benedict)
9 Rue Barral
81100 Castres, France
*Tradition holds that some relics of St Vincent were brought to the Abbey of St Benedict in Castres, France in 864 AD. Today all that remains of this abbey is its Romanesque tower. In its place stands the Cathedral of St Benedict.
Vincent de Paul, priest (September 27th) and Catherine Laboure
St Vincent de Paul (d. 1660, Paris, France) (Relics: Paris, France)
St Catherine Laboure (d. 1876) (Relics: Paris, France)
Chapelle des Pères Lazaristes
(Chapel of the Vincentian Priests)
95 Rue de Sèvres
75006 Paris, France
*This church is very near the Vaneau Metro Stop. The body of St Vincent de Paul rests above the main sanctuary and is accessed by means of a staircase.
La Chapelle Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse
(Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal)
140 Rue du Bac
75006 Paris, France
*The body of St Catherine Laboure is enshrined within this church. This is also the church where she had the visions of the Miraculous Medal.
*Also the heart of St Vincent de Paul is preserved within a reliquary at this shrine.
Vincent Ferrer, priest (April 5th)
St Vincent Ferrer (d. 1419, Vannes, France) (Relics: Vannes, France)
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Vannes
(Cathedral of Saint Peter of Vannes)
22 Rue des Chanoines
56000 Vannes, France
*The tomb of St Vincent Ferrer is on the left side of the nave within the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Also located here is a reliquary bust of the saint. These relics have resided in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel since 1956.
*Note: The Memorials and Feasts listed above with an asterisk are specific to the National Calendar of the United States of America as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and approved by the Holy See.