By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The beatification of the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux will take place on Mission Sunday, Oct. 19, at the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France.
Cardinal Saraiva Martins will preside over the Pontifical Mass which will take place at 10:00 a.m. in the Basilica. The three hour event will be televised live at 4:00 a.m. on EWTN and re-aired at 2:30 p.m. ET the same day.
Louis Martin (1823-1894) and his wife Marie Zelie (1831-1877) were declared venerable in 1994. The couple had nine children, five of whom joined religious orders, including their youngest child, Therese, who was canonized in 1925 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997.
According to the Tourism Office of Lisieux, the idea of canonizing the parents of St. Therese came shortly after their daughter’s canonization when Cardinal Vico came to Lisieux and state: “Well then! Rome now asks us to consider Papa!”
The holiness of both Louis and Zelie were already apparent in St. Therese’s famous autobiography, The Story of a Soul, and an abundance of graces attributed to the intercession of the couple have been published over the years.
It was not until 1957 that the process to consider Louis Martin for sainthood began in Bayeux while his wife’s cause was taken up the same year in the diocese of Sees.
For the first time in the history of the Church, Pope Paul VI wanted the two processes to be combined into one and in 1971, the couple’s cause was entrusted to the Historical Office of the Congregation of the Saints.
The commission reached a positive decision about the case in 1988 and on March 26, 1994, during the Year of the Family, John Paul II declared them venerable.
This summer, the Pope Benedict XVI approved a miracle attributed to the Martins intercession which paved the way for the beatification.
The miracle 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. Weeks after beginning a novena to Louis and Zelie, the child made an unexpected recovery.
Another miracle will be needed before they can be declared saints.
Prayer for Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin: God of eternal love, you gave to us in the blessed spouses Louis and Zelie Martin an example of holiness lived out in marriage. In the midst of the duties and difficulties of life, they sustained faith and hope. They raised their children to become saints. May their prayers and their example support all families in their Christian life and help us all to grow in holiness. If it is your will, deign to grant us the grace we ask you right now through their intercession, and include them in the number of the saints of your Church. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
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