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St Therese of Lisieux's parents beatified

 Louis Martin and Marie-Zélie Guérin, the parents of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus were beatified on Sunday in Lisieux, in the presence of more than 15,000 people.

Martin (1823-1894) and Guérin (1831-1877) were the parents of nine children, four of whom died as children. At the end of the service, Cardinal Saraiva Martins gave "thanks to God for this exemplary testimony of conjugal love."

He said their example will "motivate Christian families in the integral practice of Christian virtues, just as it stimulated in Thérèse the desire for sanctity."

Cardinal Martins said that in the moment of the beatification, "I thought of my father and my mother, and in this moment, I would like you to also think in your fathers and mothers, and that together, we give thanks to God for having created us and made us Christians, thanks to the conjugal love of our parents."

The cardinal said the Martins are "a gift for spouses of all ages because of the esteem, respect and harmony with which they loved each other for 19 years."

He added that they were also "a gift for parents" and "for all those who have lost their husband or wife."

"Widowhood is always a difficult condition to accept," the cardinal said. "Louis lived the loss of his wife with faith and generosity, preferring the good of his children over his personal preferences."

Among those who participated in the ceremony was Pietro Schiliro, an Italian child whose unexplainable cure in 2002 was attributed to the intercession of Martin and Guérin. Pietro was born with malformed lungs and his family was told he could not survive. His mother asked God for his healing through the intercession of Thérèse's parents and the child was healed.

The Martins are the second couple to be beatified together. Pope John Paul II beatified Italians Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, who died in 1951 and 1965, respectively, in 2001.