"The World of Saint Therese and Her Family," a photo show

In honor of the pilgrimage of the relics of St. Therese and of her parents, Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, and if the visit of Pope Francis o Ireland in connection with the World Meeting of Families, I have created a photo gallery, "The World of Saint Therese and Her Family," to offer you a visual experience of the concrete reality of their lives on earth, during which they became holy. It contains more than 350 photos, many, from my visit to France in May, never published before.  Arranged in chronological order, these images illustrate the story of their lives from the birth of St. Louis in 1823 until the canonization of the Martin spouses in 2015.  I thank the Shrine at Alencon and the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.  If you enjoy it, please help me spread the word. Thank you.  The above shows highlights of the first part of the photo gallery.  To see the gallery, click the photo below:

June 27, 2015: Pope Francis announces canonization of Louis and Zelie Martin for Mission Sunday, October 18, 2015

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin

The Shrine at Lisieux has announced that at an "ordinary public consistory" (a meeting of cardinals) this morning in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace in Rome, Pope Francis announced that on Mission Sunday, October 18, 2015Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, will become the first spouses in the history of the Church to be canonized as a couple.  Thanks be to God. 

Canonization 2014- The Canonization of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II (14036966125)
Palais apostolique et aile de Constantin

The Apostolic Palace seen from St. Peter's Square.  By Gaspard Miltiade (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Louis and Zelie will be named a saintly couple on the liturgical anniversary of their beatification in 2008 and of their daughter, St. Therese, being named a Doctor of the Church in 1997.  In 1997 and again in 2008, Mission Sunday fell on October 19.  In 2015 it falls on October 18.   The canonization ceremony will take place in Rome during the fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which has as its theme "the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world."

Pope Francis announced the news during the celebration of Terce, the midmorning hour of the Divine Office.  He also announced, for the same date, the canonizations of Blessed Vincenzo Grossi, a diocesan priest from Italy, and Blessed Mary of the Immaculate Conception, a nun from Spain.


Pietro Schilirò meets Pope Francis: "It was like meeting Jesus"


Pope Francis with Pietro Schilirò

     Pietro Schilirò is the Italian child who was healed by God after the prayer of his parents and relatives to Louis and Zelie Martin. This healing has been officially recognized as a miracle, and it led to the beatification of the Martin spouses in 2008.  On March 29, 2014 Pietro, now 11, met Pope Francis in Rome.  Here is his first-person testimony:

     When I learned that the Pope was to meet with deaf people and their families, I asked Mom if we could go there too. We decided to write to the Pope to tell him that we would be very happy to greet him personally, but if that was not possible, we would be happy to receive his blessing even from afar.

     In St. Peter's Square, we lined up with all the other deaf people and their families. It moved me to see other people who were deaf like me. Some had trouble speaking; this touched me so that I had the desire to learn sign language, that I might be closer to them.

     Suddenly, my Dad’s phone started to ring.  We were told that Pope Francis would meet us personally at the end of the audience. We were very touched!

     After about 1 ½ hours, the Pope came in amid songs of joy and hands raised in a sign of salute (this is how the deaf applaud). After some testimonies, the Pope spoke to us.

     Then the Pope came down to the crowd to greet the people who were in front, including us! I was very excited and I asked Mom and Dad what I should say, because I could not find the words.

     Pope Francis approached; he was close to me! Mom and Dad greeted him, and Mom told him that we pray for him. Then he kissed me, and I burst into tears! I leaned against him, and my hearing aid fell to the ground. Then the Pope bent down to pick it up! Dad told the Pope that I was healed by a miracle granted by the Lord through the intercession of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, and he was very happy to hear that. He smiled and said, “I know that now there has been another miracle that is being studied. I am very happy!” And with a big smile he said, “Go now, and do not cry any more.”  And with a big hug, we said goodbye to Pope Francis.

     Then, before waving to everyone and leaving the room, he looked at me. With his fingers he gave me the ‘OK’ sign! I still felt close to tears, but I was so happy because of the Pope’s embrace. For me it was like meeting Jesus! I will never forget it.”

Pietro Schilirò

This translation by Mary Davidson and the photograph appear here by courtesy of the Web site of the Shrine at Alencon (www.louiszeliemartin-alencon.com).