Synod: Some Good News For A Change…

Louis & Zelie MartinStThereseRome, March 03, 2015 (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter | 659 hits

Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, informed recently that the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux – Louis and Zelie Martin –, will be canonized this October, coinciding with the Synod on the Family, which will take place at that time in the Vatican.

“Thanks be to God in October two spouses, parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, will be canonized,” said the Salesian Cardinal, at a recent meeting organized by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) to discuss the topic “Of What Use Are Saints?” stressing the importance of sanctity in the family.

“Saints are not only priests and nuns, but also lay people,” pointed out Cardinal Amato, referring to this exemplary French married couple.

Married in 1858, they had nine children, five of whom followed the religious life.

The 218 letters that are kept of Zelie, written from 1863 until her death in 1877, record the rhythm of life with the War of 1870, the economic crises, and the births and death of their four babies.

Daily Mass at 5:30 am, Angelus and Vespers, rest on Sundays, fasting during Lent and Advent — but also jokes and games, as Louis liked to fish and play billiards.

STTHERESEThey invited poor people to dine in their home and they visited the elderly. They also taught their daughters to treat the underprivileged as equals.

Zelie died of a very painful cancer at 46. Louis was left with five very young daughters: Marie, Pauline, Leonie, Celine and Therese, who was only four and a half years old but who always remembered her Mother as a Saint. Louis died in 1894, after suffering a serious mental illness.

Benedict XVI beatified both parents on October 19, 2008. Their canonization will be the first joint canonization of a married couple. Many have proposed their life of daily holiness as a model for our time.

Louis and Zelie Martin are the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of the Missions and one of the most loved Saints by Pope Francis. St. John Paul II proclaimed her Doctor of the Church in 1997.   Source

Comment

At last, some edifying news from Rome…  Share your thoughts on how this event might help dispel the forces of darkness which are, without doubt, hovering over the forthcoming Synod, Part Two. 

39 responses

  1. God never leaves us completely abandoned, He gives us these things to hold on to until the restoration. I was privileged to be able to visit the graves of Louis and Zelie Martin once.

    • St Therese has always been my favourite saint. I took her for my Confirmation saint and part of her attraction to me was the fact that she belonged to a large family. I think it is definitely providential that her parents are being canonised to coincide with the Synod. I’m sure their intercession will keep the wolves at bay in October…

      • I was fortunate to visit the relics, but one of the most memorable events was to take part in a week long Retreat, based on her life/teachings, led by some expert whose name I can’t remember, in Lisieux.

        Her parents were actively investigated/promoted by The Vatican, as they were be the first, I think, couple ever canonised as very few married people, who were not martyrs too, have been recognised as Saints. Which is odd as primary vocation is marriage/parenthood and one would assume always aa path to holiness.

        The link with the Synod is deliberate, as its principal purpose is to uphold Church teaching on family life and its part in God’s plan.

        • The only problem is… the Synod doesn’t appear to be upholding Church teaching on marriage and its part in God’s plan…

          • My understanding is he had a vision of canonising more married couples, but the Martins will surely be the first to be canonised. I also believe the cause for the parents of St Bernadette was progressing under his papacy.

          • Jobstears,

            I’m a little puzzled at the ages of the children of that couple because I thought I had had breakfast with one of them – a priest – at one of Fr Gruner’s conferences in Rome, where the beatification was announced. It was enthralling to hear first hand stories of their family life. However, the priest I met looked nowhere near his 90’s, so I’m somewhat confused (even more so than usual!)

                • Editor,
                  O dear another of those moments!
                  Thanks for the post about the heroic Italian parents who JP 11 beatified.

                  • CS,

                    The Martins died in the 19th century, Cause introduced in the twentieth century, well over the 5 year waiting limit between death and the introduction of a Cause. I don’t think I’d call that “fast tracking”.

                    In any event, the litmus test for these (now routine) “fast track” canonisation is the answer to the question: “would they have been canonised previously, either before Vatican II or before the process was changed to remove the key element of Devil’s Advocate?” Let’s do a spot check. Here’s an extract from the above article on the Martin couple:

                    “Married in 1858, they had nine children, five of whom followed the religious life. The 218 letters that are kept of Zelie, written from 1863 until her death in 1877, record the rhythm of life with the War of 1870, the economic crises, and the births and death of their four babies. Daily Mass at 5:30 am, Angelus and Vespers, rest on Sundays, fasting during Lent and Advent — but also jokes and games, as Louis liked to fish and play billiards.
                    They invited poor people to dine in their home and they visited the elderly. They also taught their daughters to treat the underprivileged as equals.
                    Zelie died of a very painful cancer at 46. Louis was left with five very young daughters: Marie, Pauline, Leonie, Celine and Therese, who was only four and a half years old but who always remembered her Mother as a Saint. Louis died in 1894, after suffering a serious mental illness.”

                    Compare the above with the fact that Pope Benedict waived the five year wait before introducing the Cause for Canonisation of Pope John Paul II, reducing it to a ridiculous five WEEKS, and then read the implications for Catholics of canonisations by clicking here

                    No Catholic should have any problem following the example of the parents of St Therese – but the most recent, fast track canonisations, are another story, as the example in the linked article demonstrates. The article focuses on the theology of Pope John Paul II if my memory serves me correctly, and so doesn’t even take into account his failure to address the sexual abuse crisis, notably his refusal to heed the evidence against the scandalous leader of the Legionaries of Christ. Nothing saintly about that sort of neglect of duty.

                    The litmus test for these fast-track canonisations, as I said at the outset, is “would this person have been canonised under the ‘old’ process, prior to Vatican II, or prior to the removal of the office of Devil’s Advocate?” I believe the Martins most certainly would have been canonised under that system. What do you think?

                    • I meant the couple Jobstears highlighted. Mr and Mrs Quattrocchi

                      You dislike fast tracked processes, especially when it part of a deliberate policy by Pope Saint John Paul.

                    • CS,

                      I see – sorry about that. I thought you meant the Martins.

                      Well, could be, as you say, that their Cause has been fast-tracked, and perhaps should not have been. I don’t really know enough about that couple. And you are completely correct in that I dislike fast-track canonisations, not least because I’m never going to qualify for one myself.

                      In fact, even as I read about Jobstears’ couple, and even as I wrote about meeting the priest-son at one of Father Gruner’s conferences in Rome, I wondered if this were the same family.

                      I say that because of two things. Firstly, I thought the son I met was/is a bishop but that could be simply my unworthy self getting ideas above my station… And secondly because the story I was told over breakfast (by the son) was amazing in that his father’s first wife and entire family all died tragically, and the father (who had left his native Italy and gone to – I think – the USA where he married ) returned to Italy to build up his finances etc. and remarried. In Jobstears’ linked article, there’s no mention of the first tragedy and the second marriage, although I have to admit to skimming again so maybe missed that. It was this second marriage that was the subject of the beatification – and I know that took place because Fr Gruner announced it from the platform with the priest/bishop-son by his side. Nobody paid any attention when I shouted out that I’d had breakfast with him….

                      So, I’m not sure now whether I can claim any connection to the couple in the article linked by Jobstears. It could be that I need to lay off the hard stuff (tap water), and not just in Lent, but that’s why I felt a bit of a fraud claiming to have met the son of the beatified couple. I mean, I’m certain I did. I’m just not sure it’s Jobstears’ couple! I mean, is Heaven going to be full of married couples or what? How many of them can there be? What about single gals like moi? Especially slim, glamorous, witty, highly intelligent and utterly humble single gals like moi?

                    • CS

                      “Both were only married once and Mr Luigine Quattrocchi never left Italy?”

                      The plot thickens! The only thread of hope to cling to now, is that I breakfasted with a bishop and not a humble priest! Only kidding, clergy!

                    • Editor

                      Your cause for canonisation, which can’t begin for some time, will take a time because of your extensive writings.

                    • CS,

                      I got the idea of telephoning a friend in England who attended that same Fr Gruner Fatima Conference and she, lo and behold, immediately remembered the announcement from the platform about the parents of the – wait for this – Italian Bishop.

                      However, she said they were at a very early stage in the canonisation process, and promised to check back the Fatima Crusaders until she finds their name. Will report back when I hear from her on the subject.

                      Phew! I’ve now cancelled my appointment with the memory clinic!

                    • As promised, my friend rang a few minutes ago to say she has located the Fatima Crusader which reports that the parents of – wait for this – Archbishop Bernadini were in the process of being named Servants of God, a very early stage in the canonisation process. The story of his parents held me riveted at breakfast (well, you don’t get to have breakfast with an archbishop every day so indulge me if I slip in a “casual” mention now and then 😀 ) and I am sure bloggers will be riveted when they read it here.

                      So, that’s the mystery solved. Reading about Archbishop Bernadini’s family is beautifully edifying. Enjoy! And spread far and wide. I’m sure the home-schoolers and professional teachers among us could print off a copy and use it as an example of a truly Christian family.

                  • I believe Paul VI combined the causes as they “prefigured the universal call to holiness as articulated by Vatican II”. The commentator on the link Editor provided made that point.

                    • Jobstears

                      For who? The Martins?

                      The cause for Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi was not begun until 1993. Blessed Pope Paul, soon to be a Saint, died in 1978

            • Editor

              They used to say that you knew you were getting old when policemen started looking younger but I reckon it is when someone in their nineties don’t look their age.

  2. It’s definitely good news to hear of a Catholic couple who obviously loved the Church and willingly lived by her teaching, being recognized for their faithfulness. However, I am not very familiar with the lives of Louis and Zelie Martin, except for what is mentioned in the biography of St. Therese. What made this couple an exemplary Catholic couple (apart from being the parents of a saint, that is!)? Thank you.

    • Jobstears,

      That’s a very good question. Here’s what looks like a useful link, which I’ve not had time to study (yet – later!) which may answer your question. I’ve only read what is included in St Therese’s autobiography and snippets here and there, so I’m motivated by your question to learn more. Thanks for that.

      • Editor,

        Thank you for the link to the life of Archbishop Bernadini’s parents. What a beautiful and edifying example of Christian family life.

        • And to think I had breakfast with him! Well, again, to be absolutely honest, I’d had breakfast at another table and was on my way out when an English lady, who HAD breakfasted with him right through, called me over to introduce the Archbishop to me (!) and to hear his story – so I indulged in some more coffee and croissants and thought “what the heck!”

    • There is a good biography of this saintly couple entitled “Louis and Zelie Martin: The seed and root of the little flower” by Paulinus Redmond. It may be purchased through Amazon.

  3. it is very pleasing to learn that the parents of this wonderful saint are to be canonised too.

    Their family life is a good example to us all, as shown by the number of their children who chose a religious life. The family remind me of the Lefebvre family, another holy and devout household which produced several religious vocations of excellent quality.

    While it is very edifying to read of such families and try to learn from their example, it is also shocking in a way. By this I mean that both St Theresa and Archbishop Lefebvre were both born in the modern era, around the dawn of the 20th century – and yet look at Catholic families now, not much more than a century later. There has been a marked change and many ostensibly Catholic households are barely distinguishable from secular ones, if at all, in terms of their size, their priorities and their lifestyle.

    Where are the Martins and Lefebvres of today? This is undoubtedly part of the vocations crisis.

    Additionally, for wider society, a low birth rate is a significant problem. For as long as I can recall, immigration has been a hot political topic – its advocates portray it as an enriching of society, its critics as an irresponsible choice. In fact it is neither of these things – but rather a necessity for as long as the people of this country (both Scotland and wider UK) fail to have enough children. I think its right to say that Scotland has had an inadequate birth rate since the 1970s (likely since the protestants caved in to contraception). This is how nations and cultures die. Already we see how mismanaged immigration has led to a fractured society in places around the UK, and indeed worse problems.

    When growing up, I only knew of one large Catholic family (9 children) – most only had the “standard” two children by choice (I am one of three) – and I am ashamed to admit that most of us regarded them as some kind of curiosity / oddity. This highlights the collapse in Catholic understanding, as well as family life, in our times.

    My wife and I hope to start a family in the short term and, although I am quite old (37) to become a father for the first time, I pray that God will send us many children.

  4. GS

    Yes, it is a terrible shame that so many good Catholics have not been born since contraception became acceptable by a nod and a wink from the Church. However, there are some large traditional families still and I know several, two of whom have nine children. Many of them are homeschooled.

    I managed to see St. Therese’s relics when they came to Middlesbrough. very edifying.

    A young friend gave me a copy of a lovely old book, St Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower, a revised translation …
    autobiography and letters, together with the storyof her canonisation and an account of several of her heavenly roses; By Very Rev. Canon T. N. Taylor, Carfin, Motherwell, Scotland; witness before the tribunal of the beatification. it was published in 1947.

    It was a present from a young friend.

  5. I have listened to the “Carmelite Conversation” (link Editor provided), but have not had the time to get the book suggested by Spiritus. I am deeply impressed by the lives and example of Louis and Zelie Martin. They were good parents, and cared for their family admirably. Yes, we desperately need examples of good Catholic parents and families, we need examples of how holiness can be attained in the world today, but do we need to canonize the people in order to follow their example?

    I hope I am not misunderstood, I am not casting doubts on their goodness or holiness, but I can’t help asking, as we asked on the Archbishop Romero thread- do we make saints out of good people because they do their duty admirably?

    The trend in canonizations after Vatican II appears to be to recognize and laud ‘social service’ or fraternal charity, rather than heroic virtue which makes the world uncomfortable.

    Just a thought.

    • Jobstears,

      I know what you mean but it is also important to have saints who were faithful married couples as well as nuns and priest saints, especially today when marriage is being attacked on all fronts. I don’t know much about the Martin couple, if they went beyond their basic duties, but since they managed to produce a saint child, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Having said that, this is where it would help to have the old system in place, then there would be no room for doubt.

      • I agree – it’s more important than ever to have married saints to challenge the anti-life and anti-marriage culture, but I would also feel better if we had the Devil’s Advocate in place.

      • Lily, MM,

        I agree with both of you (how agreeable we all are!!!) – I wish we had the old system in place. I was impressed with the lives of all the couples mentioned on the blog, the parents of Archbishop Bernadini were especially inspiring, If fast-tracking is the norm, I hope they do something about fast-tracking the others as well. We need the example of their selfless love for God as lived out in their unselfish giving to God and family.

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