ROME, JUNE 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Pope’s vicar for Rome opened the diocesan phase of the process of beatification of Lelia Cossidente and her husband, Ulisse Amendolagine, in the presence of the couple’s four surviving children.
Teresa, Francesco, Giuseppe and Roberto — the last two are priests — were on hand Friday when Cardinal Camillo Ruini told the diocesan tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome that there are at least two reasons why the couple’s lives were exemplary.
“In the first place, the way in which they interpreted the vocation and mission to give their five children a Christian education,” the cardinal said. “In the second place, the example of life they gave during their period of suffering.”
Both spouses born in 1893 — Ulisse in Salerno and Lelia in Potenza — moved with their respective families to the Italian capital.
Ulisse worked in the Ministry of the Interior and was a member of the Carmelite Third Order, while Lelia belonged to the Confraternity of the Holy Scapular.
They met in 1929. A year later, they were married in St. Teresa Parish on the Corso de Italia, administered by the Discalced Carmelites. The Carmelite parish became the new family’s point of reference.
“It consolidated the pact between those two hearts, as well as their human qualities, especially their mutual discovery of a faith that was the strong point of their conjugal union,” Cardinal Ruini stressed.
Lelia and Ulisse had five children. Both “radiated a sense of the divine and supernatural to those around them, making it concrete by their constant willingness to help and rescue those who were in need, with discretion and generosity,” the cardinal continued.
The couple witnessed to their faith in a particular way during World War II, enduring bombings and hunger and having to flee from Rome.
Lelia died on July 3, 1951, after suffering for two years from a tumor. During her last days, she constantly whispered the last part of the Hail Mary: “Now and at the hour of our death.” Ulisse, affected by paralysis, died on May 30, 1969. On their tomb one reads the epitaph Ulisse chose: “We will resurrect.”
Cardinal Ruini said “a Christian and family life was lived by the two Servants of God in an inseparable way,” precisely because of their intense union “rooted in the grace of the sacrament of marriage.”
Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, another Roman couple of the first half of the 20th century, were the first married couple in Church history to be beatified together. They were beatified in October 2001 in the context of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio.”
Zelie and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, were declared venerable in 1994. In June 2003, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan recognized officially a miracle that might open the doors to their beatification.
Three years ago the Diocese of Catania in Italy opened the diocesan phase of the process of beatification of Marcello and Anna Maria Inguscio, the parents of two daughters.