A Marriage Made for Heaven

20th-Century Roman Couple Will Soon Be Beatified

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 30, 2001 (Zenit.org).- On Oct. 21, Rome will witness an unprecedented event: three siblings will be present at the beatification of their parents, the first husband and wife to be raised together to the glory of the altars.

The future blessed are Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi (1880-1951), and Maria Corsini (1884-1965), a Roman couple who made their ordinary married life extraordinary through love. A decree promulgated July 7 acknowledged the miracle which opened the way to their beatification.

This beatification will fulfill John Paul II´s long-standing wish to offer the world an example of sanctity in marriage.

Luigi Beltrame was a brilliant lawyer with a career that culminated in his appointment as assistant attorney general of the Italian state. He was a friend of many politicians of the postwar period, such as Alcide de Gasperi and Luigi Gedda, who worked for the rebirth of Italy after Mussolini´s Fascism.

Maria Corsini, who loved music, was a professor and writer on education, and a member of several associations, including Women´s Catholic Action.

The couple had four children: Filippo (today, Father Tarcisio), born in 1906; Stefania (Sister Maria Cecilia), who was born in 1908 and died in 1993; Cesare (today, Father Paolino), born in 1909; and Enrichetta, the youngest, born in 1914.

The Beltrames were a middle-class family open to the needs of all. During World War II their Roman apartment was a shelter for refugees.

Their children recall that their parents led a simple life, like that of many married couples, but always characterized by a sense of the supernatural.

«The aspect that characterized our family life was the atmosphere of normality that our parents created in the constant seeking of transcendental values,» Father Tarcisio, 95, recalled.

Enrichetta, 87, the youngest daughter, emphasized the love that existed at home. «It is obvious to think that at times they had differences of opinion, but we, their children, were never exposed to these,» she said. «They solved their problems between themselves, through conversation, so that once they came to an agreement, the atmosphere continued to be serene.»

Enrichetta herself is the «involuntary protagonist» of one of the most moving episodes in Luigi´s and Maria´s life. The pregnancy that ended in her birth had such worrying symptoms that a famous Roman gynecologist urged abortion to save the mother´s life. Without a second thought, Luigi and Maria rejected the proposal.

«At that time, the possibilities for survival with … the problem my mother had was around 5%,» Enrichetta explained.

Before her death, Sister Maria Cecilia recalled in her diary those days when she was 5 years old: «I remember one morning when, in the Roman Church of the Name of Mary, father with the three of us [her, Filippo and Cesare] was outside the confessional. He stayed and spoke with the priest a long time. Perhaps he told him about our mother´s condition. At one point, he raised his hand to his forehead … weeping. We were quiet, sad, scared. We prayed as children …»

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