Pope Francis venerates the relics of Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi as he arrives to celebrate a Mass to open the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 5. The pope also venerated relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. (CNS photo/CNS photo/Marcin Mazur)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The first two married couples beatified as couples and St. Therese of Lisieux were being honored during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
The relics of St. Therese, her parents Blessed Louis and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin, and Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, were to be in Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major for the duration of the synod Oct. 5-19.
Before the synod's opening Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 5, Pope Francis venerated the relics, which were brought to St. Peter's just for the Mass. Their presence and prominence underlined the importance of St. Therese and the blessed spouses for today's families.
Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi became the first married couple to be beatified together; declaring them blessed 2001, St. John Paul II called them models of holiness for all Christian spouses.
The husband was an Italian civil servant, a church activist and promoter of social welfare, who eventually became the country's assistant attorney general. He died in 1951. When his wife was pregnant with their fourth child, doctors told her that she would die unless she aborted the baby. The couple decided they couldn't do that; a daughter was born in 1914 and the mother lived another 51 years.