The Vatican is set to canonize on October 18th 2015 blesseds Louis Martin and Zelie Martin, the parents of Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, who in the Catholic and Christian world is well known as Saint Thérèse (of Lisieux) of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Doctor of the Church.
Pope Francis already approved early this year the decrees during the June 27, 2015 consistory of bishops at the Apostolic palace, that will pave the way for the formal canonization. Both Louis and Zelie were beatified October 19, 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.
The blesseds Martins will be the first couple to become saints at the event. Other blesseds ascending to sainthood on the same event are Blessed Vincenzo Grossi, an Italian priest and founder of the Institute of the Daughters of the Oratory, and Blessed Maria of the Immaculate Conception, Spanish superior general of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross.
The canonizations will coincide with the Synod on the Family to be held on Oct. 4-25. The three-week gathering of bishops will be the second and larger of two such gatherings to take place in the course of a year. The focus of the 2015 Synod will be the family, with the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world.”
It must be recalled that before the Synod on the Family of 2014, Pope Francis venerated the relics of Blesseds Louis and Zelie, along with those of another married couple, Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi.
Louis and Zélie met in early 1858 and married on July 13th of that same year at the basilica of Notre Dame of Alençon. They were part of the petit-bourgeoisie, comfortable Alençon. At first they decided to live as brother and sister in a perpetual continence, but when a confessor discouraged them in this, they changed their lifestyle and had 9 children. From 1867 to 1870 they lost 3 infants and 5-and-a-half-year-old Hélène. All 5 of their surviving daughters became nuns:
Marie (February 22, 1860, a Carmelite in Lisieux, in religion, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, d. January 19, 1940),
Pauline (September 7, 1861, in religion, Mother Agnes of Jesus in the Lisieux Carmel, d. July 28, 1951),
Léonie (June 3, 1863, in religion Sister Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine at Caen, d. June 16, 1941),
Céline (April 28, 1869, a Carmelite in Lisieux, in religion, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, d. February 25, 1959), and finally
Thérèse. Became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century. Pope Pius XI made her the “star of his pontificate”. She was beatified in 1923, and canonized in 1925. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier in 1927, and named co-patron of France with St. Joan of Arc in 1944. On October 19, 1997 Pope John Paul II declared her the thirty-third Doctor of the Church, the youngest person, and at that time only the third woman, to be so honored. Her feast day is October 1st.
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