“Good God has given me a father and a mother who are more worthy of Heaven than of earth”, wrote St. Theresine of Liseux, in a letter of July 26, 1897. Her Father and mother were Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, two saint parents. Pope Francis consecrated them last October 18 in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. A history of family holiness lived in the fullness of human love consecrated to God, a slap in the face of all those people who believe that family is an obsolete reality and propose an individualistic vision of relationships, based on ephemeral desires and pleasures.
They had nine children. Only five of them survived. Heavens did not spare those champions challenges which were as extraordinary as their virtues. From Zelie’s letters appears the radiating face of a creature shining with life and humanity, realized following Jesus’ example. “It is such a sweet work to take care of one’s children,” she wrote. And, with respect to children lost prematurely, he said: “Many people told me that ‘it would have been better not have had them at all’. I could not stand this language. I did not agree at all that pains and concerns could be put on the same scale with the eternal happiness of having had my children. Besides, they were not lost forever, life is short and full of miseries, we will find each other again in heaven”.
Her husband’s spirit and love were no less heroic. When Louis remained a widower at the age of 54 years, after 19 years of marriage, he dedicated himself totally to his daughter, taking care of their education, also religious, playing with them, taking care of their home, leading as a layman the life of a consecrated. He prayed every day and often at night, he confessed frequently, he took part in parish activities and has approached Eucharist.
On November 1, All Saints’ Day, Christians celebrate the light of the Love of God, which shines in the living witness of the heroes of faith and charity: real people who have lived faithfully to the commandments and to the golden rule of brotherly love, solidarity, and mutual responsibility between human beings. In the face of those saints, of their lives, you can admire the Face of the One who has created us for goodness. All Saints’ Day is a liturgical opportunity to rediscover the beauty of their life example and of the Catholic religion.
Along with the parents of the St. Theresine, on October 18, in Rome, Pope Francis declared saints two more men and women witnesses of the light: Vincenzo Grossi (XIX century a. C.), a priest, founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Oratory, and Mary of the Immaculate Conception (XX century a.C.), a Spanish sister from the Sisters of the Company of the Cross.
The first heroes of faith who were canonized by Pope Francis were the Christians killed for their fidelity to Jesus in modern times of religious persecution: Antonio Pezzulla, also known as Primaldo, and 812 companions who were massacred in Otranto, Puglia, in 1480. The Ottoman Empire tried to invade Europe. Otranto yielded after two weeks of siege. Survivors took refuge in the cathedral, together with the Archbishop Stefano Pendinelli. When they were asked to recant, they refused and were slaughtered. Still in the month of May 2013, Pope Bergoglio celebrated the sanctification of two sisters of the Twentieth Century: Mother Laura Montoya, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St Catherine of Siena, the first Colombian Saint, and sister Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, a Mexican young woman from a wealthy family, who renounced her family’s welfare to serve the poor and the needy.
On April 27, 2014, were proclaimed saints the Good Pope, John XXIII, and the Pope of the family, John Paul II. On November 23 of the same year, Pope Francis had sanctified six believers that were made promoters of orders and religious bodies: Giovanni Antonio Maria (XIX century a.C.), Bishop of Treviso and later of Vicenza, founder of the Teaching Sisters of St Dorothy, daughters of the Sacred Hearts: a female religious institute devoted to the Christian education of youth. Cyriacus of the Holy Family (XIX century a.C.), an Indian priest of the Syrian rite, founder of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Ludovic of Casoria (XIX century a.C.) friar minor, barefoot, a philosopher and a mathematician, committed to the redemption of enslaved African children, founder of the Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters. Nicola from Longobardi (XVII century a.C.), friar of the Order of the Minims, champion of the sacramental virtues of chastity, poverty, obedience, and solemn faithfulness. Eufrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (XIX century a.C.), from the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Beloved Ronconi (XIII century a.C., a layman, founder of the Hospital of the Poor Pilgrims of Saludecio.
In 2015, were canonized also: on January 14 in Colombo (Sri Lanka), Joseph Vaz (XVII century a.C.), a missionary priest, founder of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Goa. On May 17 in Rome: Giovanna Emilia de Villeneuve (XIX century a.C.), foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Mary of Jesus Crucified Bawārdī (XIX century a.C.), Palestinian nun of Lebanese origin, of the Discalced Carmelite Order, has seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: ecstasy, levitation, stigmata, prophecy and ubiquity, transverberation of heart, visions of saints. Maria Cristina of Immaculate Conception Brando (XIX century a.C.), a Neapolitan religious woman with the vocation of the catechizes and teaching kids, foundress of the Sisters, Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Maryam Sūltanah (Maria Alfonsina) Danil Ghaţţas (XIX century a.C.), a Palestinian religious woman, co-foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins. On September 23 in Washington, on the occasion of the World Forum for families in the United States: Junipero Serra (XVIII century a.C.), missionary priest of the Order of Friars Minor.