EWTN is scheduled to broadcast live the Beatification Mass for Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, at 4:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (10:00 a.m. in France) from Lisieux. The broadcast, which will last about three hours, will be repeated at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Jose Cardinal Saraiva Martins, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will preside over the Mass as the legate of Pope Benedict XVI. During the Mass he will read the Apostolic Letter of Beatification signed by the Holy Father, and the portrait of Zelie and Louis will be unveiled. Parents and their children will carry the reliquary containing the bodies of the newly beatified in procession from the crypt of the basilica to the foot of the altar.
Surely this is the first time in the history of the Church that a couple has been beatified in a basilica dedicated to their youngest daughter! In January 1939, their oldest daughter, Marie, recalled Zelie's visits to the cemetery near the site on which the Basilica would later be built: " Recently, I was looking at the Basilica, and I was thinking of Mamma; when she came to Lisieux, Aunt always used to take her to the cemetery. It was on a beautiful site, and she had members of her family who were buried there. If anyone, at that time, had said to her: "Do you see this beautiful hill where we are? Well! in fifty years, a superb Basilica will be built here . . . and this Basilica will be in honor of your little Therese.' Poor little Mother! She would have said 'You're losing your mind!' Certainly, she wouldn't have believed it; she who had so many troubles! . . ." [Conversation of Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, written down by Sister Marie of the Incarnation, from the latter's notebook, p. 228, cited in Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume I (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1982), p. 124.]
Two of the Martin daughters, Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus) and Celne (Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face) lived in the crypt of the basilica, where the reliquary of their parents will be venerated from now on, during the summer of 1944. All the Carmelites and some townspeople took refuge there during the bombing of Normandy. The Carmelites lived toward the front of the crypt on the right, in the section near Our Lady's altar. For more about the festivities and ceremonies of the beatification, please visit this page.