Sunday, October 19, 2008

Parents of Therese the Little Flower Beatified Today

Story from RTÉ News:

"St Thérèse's parents to be beatified
Sunday, 19 October 2008 12:34

The parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux are to be beatified today in the French basilica dedicated to her memory.

The move leaves Louis and Zélie Martin one step short of sainthood.

About 100 Irish pilgrims will occupy a place of honour at the Mass in Lisieux among an expected crowd of about 15,000 people.

The Rector of the basilica in Lisieux has said the Irish were at the forefront of promoting the couple's cause and they will feature prominently in the ceremony.

Last July, Pope Benedict formally approved the miracle cure of a young Milanese child, Pietro Schillero, through the couple's intercession.

His lungs were so deformed that he seemed destined to die. During the mid-19th Century the Martins had nine children, four of whom died as infants and the five others became nuns.

The best-known was St Thérèse - often called The Little Flower. She was canonized in 1925 and, in 1997, named a Doctor of the Church, an honour she shares with just two other women.

The ceremony is taking place on Mission Sunday, underlining that St Thérèse and St Francis Xavier are the patron saints of the missions.

The Potuguese Cardinal Saraiva Martins, former head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, is to preside at the ceremony.

Last May, the couple's bodies were exhumed and examined to reveal that Zélie had died of cancer. Yesterday they were placed in a new reliquary which has been donated by an Irish family who have requested anonymity. It has formally been named the Irish reliquary.

Solicitor Noel Smith and his wife Ann Marie will help carry the remains of the Blesseds in a procession around Lisieux to the crypt where they will lie.

Among the readers during the Mass, Dubliner Celine Chisolm and Kildare-man Pat Sweeney.

At 4pm this afternoon in Dublin's Whitefriar Street Church, a Solemn Concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving will be led by the retired Laois-born Papal Nuncio to New Zealand, Archbishop Thomas White."

Picture above of Theresa Martin at age eight.

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