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 CNS Story:

MARTIN-BEATIFY Oct-20-2008 (450 words) xxxi

Cardinal beatifies parents of St. Therese of Lisieux in French town

By Catholic News Service

LISIEUX, France (CNS) -- Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins encouraged those present at the beatification of the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to thank God for their own parents.

"I have thought about my own father and mother, and I would like you also to think at this moment of your father and mother, so we will thank God together for having created us and made us Christians through the married love of our parents," said Cardinal Saraiva Martins, former prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes.

"Receiving life is a wonderful thing. But it is still more admirable for us that our parents should have led us to the church, which alone is capable of forming Christians. No one can become a Christian by himself," the cardinal said at the Oct. 19 beatification Mass for Louis and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin in St. Therese Basilica.

Among the approximately 15,000 people attending the Mass was a 6-year-old Italian, Pietro Schillero. When he was 13 months old, his parents prayed for the intercession of the Martins to cure his fatal lung condition; in 2003, the church recognized the cure as miraculous.

In a message read at the beatification Mass, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Martins had "proclaimed the Gospel" through their exemplary lives, passing on their "ardent faith" to their children. The pope said he hoped their example would be "a source of joy and hope for all parents and all families."

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said St. Therese, who died of hemoptysis, or bleeding of the lungs, at age 24, had described her parents as "more worthy of heaven than earth."

The "secret of success" of the Martins' Christian life, the cardinal said, had been their readiness to "walk humbly with God in seeking the advice of the Lord," while also "placing all aspects of their lives in harmony with church teachings."

He added that the Martins were a "gift to parents," widows and widowers, and those facing illness and death.

"Louis and Zelie are a gift for spouses of all ages, through the esteem, respect and harmony with which they loved for 19 years," the cardinal said. "They lived the promises of marriage, the faithfulness of engagement, the indissolubility of the bond, the fruitfulness of love, in happiness and in trials, in health and in sickness."

Marie Zelie Guerin married Louis Martin, a watchmaker and jeweler, in 1858. She died of cancer in 1877, at the age of 46, after giving birth to nine children. Four of the Martins' children died in infancy. The five who survived all entered religious life.


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