The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, has called the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, now Blesseds Luis Martin and Zelie Guerin, “two witnesses of conjugal love” who raised their children firmly in the Christian faith, thus becoming an example for Christian spouses.
Before the more than 15,000 people gathered for the Beatification Mass at the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France, Cardinal Saraiva said the parents of the patroness of the missions “walked together towards God in search of the will of the Lord,” and in order to always be sure of fulfilling his will they always looked to the Church, “expert in humanity, seeking to be conformed in all aspects of their lives to the teachings of the Church.”
Referring to the 19 years of marriage they shared, Cardinal Saraiva underscored how the parents of St. Therese “lived out their marital promises in absolute fidelity, conscious of the indissolubility of their bond, in search of the fecundity of their love, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health,” all of which was a gift for their daughters.
“Among these we particularly admire Therese, a masterpiece of the grace of God and a masterpiece of the love of her parents for their children,” the cardinal said.
After explaining how Louis accepted with faith and hope the death of Zelie, who died from cancer, and how he faced his own death in the same way, Cardinal Saraiva said both “are an example of missionaries. For this reason, the Pope desired they be proclaimed blessed on this day that is so special for the universal Church: he desired to unite Louis and Zelie to their disciple, Therese, their daughter, who became patroness of the missions and Doctor of the Church.”