This week we continue our series on models of marriage lived virtuously. Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi were beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 21, 2001. This fulfilled a lifelong desire of the future St. John Paul II when, for the first time in the history of the Church, he beatified a husband and wife together. The beatification was part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of John Paul II’s seminal apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World).
Blessed Luigi (1880-1951) and Maria (1884-1965) Beltrame Quattrocchi were married for 50 years and had four children. Luigi was a lawyer and at the time of his retirement, he was the Attorney General of Italy. After World War II he worked tirelessly to rebuild Italy.
Maria Corsini was born into a noble family. Because of her family status, Maria had countless educational and cultural experiences. Maria was a professor, wrote about educational issues, loved music and volunteered in a number of Catholic and social organizations like the Red Cross.
Three of their children were in attendance at the beatification: sons, Filippo and Cesare, were among the priests who concelebrated the beatification Mass with the Pope John Paul II and daughter Enrichetta.
In his homily, John Paul II underscored that holiness is not restricted to religious and priests. In speaking of Blessed Luigi and Maria, the Pope said that they “lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.” Emphasizing their “extraordinarily rich spiritual life,” the Pope said “daily Communion was at the center, to which was added filial devotion to the Virgin Mary, invoked by praying the rosary every night.”
The Pope began his homily with a question Jesus asks in the Gospel of Luke: “And when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8). With the beatification of Blessed Luigi and Maria, the Pope’s intention was “to highlight an example of a positive reply to Christ’s question.” Luigi and Maria, he said “kept the lamp of the faith burning – lumen Christi – and passed it on to their four children…but…also handed on the burning lamp to their friends, acquaintances, colleagues…And now, from heaven, they are giving it to the whole Church.
“This couple lived married love and service to life in the light of the Gospel and with great human intensity. With full responsibility they assumed the task of collaborating with God in procreation, dedicating themselves generously to their children, to teach them, guide them and direct them to discovering his plan of love. From this fertile spiritual terrain sprang vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life, which shows how, with their common roots in the spousal love of the Lord, marriage and virginity may be closely connected and reciprocally enlightening.
“In their life, as in the lives of many other married couples who day after day earnestly fulfil their mission as parents, one can contemplate the sacramental revelation of Christ’s love for the Church. Indeed, ‘fulfilling their conjugal and family role by virtue of this sacrament, spouses are penetrated with the spirit of Christ and their whole life is permeated by faith, hope, and charity; thus they increasingly further their own perfection and their mutual sanctification, and together they render glory to God’ (Gaudium et spes, n. 48).
“Dear families, today we have distinctive confirmation that the path of holiness lived together as a couple is possible, beautiful, extraordinarily fruitful, and fundamental for the good of the family, the Church and society.
“This prompts us to pray the Lord that there be many more married couples who can reveal in the holiness of their lives, the ‘great mystery’ of spousal love, which originates in creation and is fulfilled in the union of Christ with his Church (cf. Eph 5,22-33).”
The complete text of St. John Paul II’s homily on the occasion of the beatification of the Servants of God Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi can be found here. We highly recommend that you read his homily. It is a great encouragement to married couples.
Blessed Luigi and Maria represent a model of virtuous married love and unwavering commitment to the faith. Their inspiring example is a source of encouragement for all married couples. Their feast day is celebrated on the date they were married, November 25th.
Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, pray for the sanctity of marriages lived in joyfully service to the Gospel.