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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vocations to Marriage AND Holiness

"Cardinal Saraiva Martins also revealed the beatification, later this year, of the parents of St, Therese of Lisieux, Louis Martin and Azelia Guérin. The heroic virtues of the parents of St. Therese, who is now one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church and a Doctor of the Church, were proclaimed on March 26, 1944."

The beatification of St. Therese's parents would be significant. To my knowledge there are not many married saints, if any. Let me restate that. There are not many canonized saints who were married to each other - and did not die as martyrs. There are saints that were married, some who were martyred and some who heroically endured the torments of their spouse who was not canonized. Readers may be able to help, but off hand I can't think of any other saints whose faith and heroic virtue was lived out in a devout and fruitful marriage. Louis and Zelie's beatification would be extremely important in a world where it seems that almost everyone has lost the idea of what a vocation to marriage really means. A call to holiness in marriage is beautiful, but it is not without sacrifice and crosses. It certainly bears little resemblance to horribly distorted marriages we see lived out, and all too frequently abandoned, in our world today.

Which brings me to another vocations point. Two posts ago I noted how there was a time in the Church when every family had at least one child who considered a vocation to the Priesthood or religious life. In the case of the Martin's, they had 9 children. Four of them (the boys) died in childhood. The surviving five girls would all eventually become nuns.

If more husbands and wives today lived out the vocation to Holy Matrimony the way Louis and Zelie Martin did, we would not have a shortage of Priests and Religious. The witness of their faithful self-sacrificing love of Our Lord and each other obviously made a deep and lasting impact in the lives of their children. Perhaps they will become the patrons of married couples and through their intercession more men and women will live out holy and virtuous marriages. In turn they may encourage their own children to remain generously open to God's holy will for their lives - even supporting them if He might be calling them to the Priesthood or Religious Life.
Servants of God Louis and Zelie Martin, Pray for us!

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