Parents of St. Therese alias ‘the Little Flower’ canonised; Became first couple in modern times

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Who: Parents of St. Therese
Where: St. Peter’s Square, Vatican
What: Were canonised by the Pope Francis
When: 18 October 2015
Why: For their service to the Church

Pope Francis on 18 October 2015 canonised the parents of St. Therese Lisieux- Louis and Zelie Martin-at a special ceremony held at the St. Peter’s Square in Vatican. With this, they became the first couple to be canonized in modern times.

The Martins were beatified in 2008 and became eligible for sainthood on the recommendation of the Congregation for practicing Christian service in the family and nurturing the vocations of their daughters.

The Martins bore nine children, however, only five of whom survived. All five became nuns, including the youngest, Therese, at age 15.

About St. Therese

• She is popularly known as the Little Flower around the world. She belonged to France.
• She is a highly influential model of sanctity because of the simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life.
• Together with St. Francis of Assisi, she is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church.
• She was canonized in 1925 and died at the age of 24 in 1987.

Process of Cannonisation

Cannonisation is the act by which the Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox Church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints.

Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process. Later, different processes, such as those used by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were developed.

There are four steps to canonization that the saints have to go through:

Servant of God   →   Venerable   →   Blessed   →   Saint

Five years after a person dies, a bishop can request that he or she be considered for canonization. The first step is to collect the testimony of witnesses who can recount facts about the person’s exercise of Christian virtues. At that point the person can be given the title of Servant of God, or Venerable.

After more investigation the Congregation for the Cause of Saints can recommend to the pope that the person be beatified. This means that the person can be honored in public worship limited to a specific diocese or area. After beatification the person receives the title Blessed.

Finally the Congregation can recommend canonization. When the pope canonizes a person, he declares that the person can be looked on as a model of Christian virtue and can be honored in the public worship of the universal church. After canonization the person who was named Blessed acquires the title of Saint.