Louis and Zelie Martin's Miracle:
The Cure of Pietro Schiliro

"The miracle that made them blessed: the visit of thanksgiving
of the Schiliro family to Lisieux after the cure of their child."

From Vie du Sanctuaire aujourd'hui, 2002. (Pilgrimage Office at Lisieux). Translated by Maureen O'Riordan for thereseoflisieux.org  from the Web site of the diocese of Bayeux and Lisieux.  To see a photo of Pietro and his parents at Lisieux Carmel in front of the altar from the time of St. Therese, visit  Eglise Catholique de Bayeux et de Lisieux.

the newbornPietro Schiliro at the hospital in monza, july 2002

the newbornPietro Schiliro at the hospital in monza, july 2002

     From December 31, 2002 to January 3, 2003, the Foyer of Louis and Zelie Martin at Lisieux received a group of Italian pilgrims guided by Father Antonio Sangalli, a Carmelite friar of Monza (in the diocese of Milan). Among them, a happy family came to thank the parents of St. Therese for the cure of the youngest of their six children, Pietro Schiliro (six months old).

     Their happiness and their thanksgiving were greater because Pietro, who had a pulmonary malformation, was born unable to breathe on his own. Born on May 25, 2002, condemned by the surgeons and doctors to remain in the hospital, completely dependent on a system of artificial respiration which proved insufficient, Pietro's life began again on June 29, 2002 on the feast of St. Peter, his patron.

     A long time ago Pietro's mother had read Story of a Soul  [the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux]. She was very angry: how could God permit the suffering of one who had given everything to him? Later she encountered Father Antonio, who helped her to enter more and more into the "little way."

     Valter and Adele, the parents of Pietro, recount:

     "The trial of Pietro's mortal illness was a grace to us. What we had lived only in words we were now asked to prove in the flesh. Let us never doubt the benevolent presence of the Lord in our suffering, but we wanted to understand the feeling of this trial.

     The key was given to us by little Therese. My [Adele's] sister, who could not help us, had asked St. Therese to help us. Opening the book of the letters of Therese, she found it fell open at letters 194 and 195, which speak of the missionary vocation of a very small child.

     So we understood that Pietro, lying on his bed, motionless, his arms crossed, supported by eighteen tubes (drains, perfusions, catheters, etc.) participated in the great saving mission of Jesus and that "when the Lamb will open the
book of life, what a surprise for the Heavenly Court to hear proclaimed with the names of missionaries and martyrs those of poor little children who never performed dazzling actions." [1]

     Father Antonio talked to us about Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese, and we decided to make a novena asking their intercession for the cure of Pietro and to hasten their beatification. We distributed more than 500 pictures to our family, our friends, our parish, and our co-workers; we made several novenas with the conviction that we would be answered, without any merit on our part, by the pure goodness of the Lord. And the improvement came abruptly: on the 26th and 27th of June, Pietro had such crises of insufficient breathing that, on arriving at the hospital in the morning, we wondered if we would find him still alive. The nurse reassured us at once and talked of a miracle. The improvement continued, so much that on July 3 Pietro was taken off artificial respiration.

     When we left the hospital definitively, after returning home, we took a bouquet of flowers to the altar of the church. But our way of giving thanks is especially to witness to make known the parents of Therese Martin."

     The photos taken by Pietro's father before and after the cure of Pietro are very impressive. His intention was to keep a souvenir of the child, anticipating that his death would soon be announced by the doctors. Now the photos will be added to the medical file for the recognition of a miracle worked at the intercession of the Martin parents. A court will be convened at Milan to study this cure.

[1] Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II, tr. John Clarke, O.C.D. (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1988), p. 991.