CATANIA, Sicily, NOV. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The process of beatification of another married couple has opened in Italy.
Just a few weeks ago the Church saw the first simultaneous beatification of a married couple, Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi.
Now, another pair of spouses is in line for being similarly honored. The process for Marcello and Anna Maria Inguscio, opened in Catania last Friday, the newspaper Avvenire reported.
Marcello Inguscio was born in Lecce in 1934. After receiving a diploma from the Lyceum of Music, he won several competitions, and in 1972 was appointed first double-bass player at Catania´s Bellini Theater. Six years later he was appointed vice director of the lyceum.
Three difficult surgical operations made Marcello reflect on the gift of life, to the point that he promised God that once he was cured, he would dedicate himself to care of the poor.
Anna Maria, whose family was Swiss, was born in Catania in 1938. She and Marcello first met in Messina, and years later met in a suburb of Catania, in the house for the sick looked after by Anna Maria.
This was the beginning of their friendship. They prayed together and dedicated themselves to volunteer work.
Their relationship deepened, but there was an obstacle: Marcello was a Catholic and Anna a Waldensian.
They came to an agreement: Marcello would study Protestant theology; Anna Maria, Catholicism. They left the rest in God´s hands.
After studying Catholicism in depth, Anna Maria decided to convert. Key to her conversion was her 1957 meeting in France with Abbé Pierre, a priest dedicated to the homeless.
On Anna and Marcello´s wedding day, 40 of the guests were handicapped people. The newlyweds spent the reception feeding the handicapped.
As soon as they set up house, they adapted an area for a chapel. Their living room soon became the setting for the first grass-roots ecclesial community Mission Church-World, of which they were members.
The couple had two daughters, Marietta and Lucia, who grew up in an intensely prayerful atmosphere, in the midst of the sick who filled their home. Until the last day of her life, night and day, Anna Maria always had a guest in her home.
As some of Catania´s gravely ill people had no place to go, Marcello and Anna Maria and a few volunteers established the Casa-Familia Puebla, where the handicapped could live in a family atmosphere. This was the first center of its kind in Sicily.
Marcello went on to get a professional nursing diploma. He traveled around Catania with a mountain of keys to the homes of the sick and elderly he visited.
Anna Maria and her husband eventually took vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and full-time pastoral care at the Mission Church-World institute of consecrated life. They also led a group of married couples. Anna Maria died of cancer in 1986, and Marcello of a heart attack in 1996.
Archbishop Luigi Bommarito of Catania proclaimed Marcello and Anna Maria servants of God and opened the diocesan phase of their beatification process.