2nd Beatified Couple Called a Gift to Spouses

Cardinal Says St. Thérèse’s Parents Can Help Families

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LISIEUX, France, OCT. 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The second married couple to be beatified together can motivate families to live Christian virtue just as they taught their daughter-saint to desire holiness, says a Vatican official.

This was affirmed by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, retired prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, when he presided over the beatification of Louis Martin and Marie-Zélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. The couple was beatified Sunday in Lisieux in the presence of some 15,000 people.

The first married couple to be beatified together — Italians Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, who died in 1951 and 1965, respectively — were beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Martin (1823-1894) and Guérin (1831-1877) were the parents of nine children, four of whom died as children. After concluding the beatification rite, Cardinal Saraiva Martins gave «thanks to God for this exemplary testimony of conjugal love.»

Their example, the prelate assured, can «motivate Christian families in the integral practice of Christian virtues, just as it stimulated in Thérèse the desire for sanctity.»

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said that in the moment of the beatification, «I thought of my father and my mother, and in this moment, I would like you to also think in your fathers and mothers, and that together, we give thanks to God for having created us and made us Christians, thanks to the conjugal love of our parents.»

Love and loss

The cardinal presented the Martins as «a gift for spouses of all ages because of the esteem, respect and harmony with which they loved each other for 19 years.»

He said the couple is also «a gift for parents» and «for all those who have lost their husband or wife.»

«Widowhood is always a difficult condition to accept,» the cardinal said. «Louis lived the loss of his wife with faith and generosity, preferring the good of his children over his personal preferences.»

And, Cardinal Saraiva Martins said, this couples is «a gift for those who face sickness and death. In our world, which tries to hide death, they teach us to look at it face to face, abandoning ourselves in God.»

Among those who participated in the ceremony was Pietro Schiliro, an Italian child whose unexplainable cure in 2002 was attributed to the intercession of Martin and Guérin.

Pietro was born with malformed lungs and his family was told he could not survive. His mother asked God for his healing through the intercession of Thérèse’s parents and the child was healed.

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