France: Beatification of the Parents of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

Source: FSSPX News


On Sunday, October 19, the Mass of beatification of Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Azélie-Marie Guérin (1831-1877), the parents of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, took place in the Basilica of Lisieux before an attendance of 12,000 to 15,000 faithful. The pontifical Mass was presided over by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, emeritus prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Present at the ceremony, Pietro Schiliro, whose unexplained cure, in 2002, was attributed to the intercession of Louis and Zélie, unveiled, with the help of his parents, the reliquary in which the Martin spouses are laid to rest, inside the Basilica of Lisieux.

On June 10, 2003, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, had recognized the miracle attributed to Louis and Zélie Martin. It  had to do with the cure of a new-born child who remained for 40 days between life and death at the Hospital St. Gerard in Monza in 2002. At the end of a chain of prayers addressed to the Martin spouses by relatives, friends, and members of the medical staff, Pietro Schiliro was returned to his family in perfect health. The official recognition of the miracle was done by Benedict XVI on July 3, 2008.

Saint Therese wrote about her parents: “The good God gave a father and a mother more worthy of Heaven than of this earth.” Last July, on the occasion of the 150th wedding anniversary of the Martin parents, Cardinal Saraivai Martins had explained that the “gift of self is absolutely remarkable in the lives of these peerless parents according to the very expression of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. But the holiness of their lives, like their reputation of holiness, is not limited to the time of their conjugal life. It was already present before. The lives of both developed in the search for God, in prayer inspired by the deep desire to accomplish especially His will. At the beginning, they both looked towards a consecrated religious life. They sought help in discerning their calling.”

And he added:  “The holiness of these spouses is not due to the holiness of their daughter ; it is a truly personal holiness, the fruit of their will, and carried out along the path of obedience to the will of God who wants all his children to be holy as He Himself is Holy. Consequently we can say that Therese was the first ‘relator’ of the holiness of her parents; holiness in the strictest sense of the word, it is not a mere way of speaking. Therese spoke several times of her father using words such as saint, servant of God, just. In her parents, she admired not only their abilities, and human keenness or their courage in carrying out their work, she also noted their faith, their hope and their charity, the heroic exercise of these theological virtues. She laid stress on all the elements which are the objects of a close scrutiny in canonical process.”

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins concluded with the very words which closed the Roman declaration of October 13, 1987 concerning the virtues of Louis and Zélie: “We have before us a couple and a family who always lived and acted in full agreement with the Gospel. Their only concern was to live through each moment of the day according to the plan laid out for them by God. When asking or listening to His voice they did nothing but increase in perfection. Louis and Zélie Martin are not the protagonists of any brilliant action nor of a special intensity of apostolate, but they lived the daily life of any family, enlightened always by what is divine and supernatural. There lies the central aspect, of ecclesial import, proposed to today’s family for imitation. By keeping before our eyes the Martin family, we will be able to receive nourishment, strength, and direction to avoid modern secularization, and thus triumph over many little troubles, and be able to see the gift of conjugal love, and together with it, the gift of fatherhood and motherhood in the light of a measureless Gift from God.”

On October 19, Benedict XVI, in a pastoral visit to the shrine of Pompeii, spoke during the Angelus the “fundamental role” of the family, mentioning the beatification of Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin. The pope paid a tribute of honor to “their life as an exemplary couple”. “They lived their faith ardently and passed it on to their family and those around them,” he said. On the occasion of this beatification, the pope was keen to talk about the family “whose role in teaching children a universal outlook that is both responsible and open to the world and its problems is fundamental, as it also is in the formation of vocations to missionary life. (Sources: apic/imedia/sanctuairedeLisieux)