by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Pope Benedict XVI authorized the promulgation of decrees attributing miracles to five causes, including that of Louis and Marie-Celie “Zelie” Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, paving the way for their beatification.
The miracle attributed to the Martins intercession involved six year old Pietro Schillero from Monza, Italy, who was born on May 25, 2002 with a fatal lung condition that required constant respiratory assistance. Doctors did not expect him to survive or, if he did, to ever be able to breathe normally.
Father Sangalli, a Carmelite priest, suggested to Pietro’s parents that they make a novena to Louis and Zelie Martin. Both the parents and the family’s parish did so. His health began to improve immediately. He left the hospital in perfect health on July 26.
The cure is considered inexplicable and was testified to by numerous witnesses, including seven doctors. A year later, on June 10, 2003, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Dionigi Tettamanzi, signed an official act recognizing the miraculous cure. More than 100 people attended the signing, including the Schillero family. During the signing, the then-13 month old Pietro was happily parading around the chapel and even crawled under the Cardinal’s desk at one point.
The canonization process for the parents of the Little Flower of Lisieux was launched in 1994 when the Vatican issued a declaration attesting to the couple’s lives of heroic virtue. Beatification is the second step in the sainthood process. In general, two miracles must be accepted by the Church as having occurred through the intercession of a prospective saint.
Pope Benedict authorized the promulgation of the decree regarding the Martin’s miracle on July 3 after a private audience with Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. The decree comes only weeks before the 150th anniversary of the marriage of Louis and Zelie Martin – July 15, 2008.
The Martins, who raised five daughters, all of whom entered religious life, will be the second married couple beatified after Italians Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi
“St. Therese is the greatest saint of modern times. But she also received a great deal as a daughter from her parents,” said Dominique Monvielle, director of the pilgrimage center in Lisieux. “The link between them has a message for families worldwide about the full human and spiritual upbringing of children.”
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