Christianity has a long tradition of calling the family the domestic church. It is in the family where children first learn to worship God, to love and forgive, and to work together. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit, the family forms a community of grace and prayer. It is a school in which children learn about how to live a loving, holy life.
Blessed Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi (1889-1951) and Blessed Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi (1884-1965) were an example of a family forming a domestic church. They were married in Rome in 1905 had four children, three of whom entered religious communities.
Luigi was a lawyer and an example of the layman active in serving the community and promoting Christian values. Maria was active in the life of the community. She was a volunteer nurse during World War I. During World War II, Luigi and Maria’s home was a shelter for refugees. Maria was also a professor, a writer on education and a member of Women’s Catholic Action.
Luigi and Maria were beatified by Pope John Paul II October 21, 2001. They were the first couple to be so declared. In supporting their beatification Cardinal Jose Martins stated that the Quattrocchis “made their family an authentic domestic church, open to life, prayer, witness of the Gospel, the social apostolate, solidarity with the poor, and friendship.”
The Vatican also announced on July 13, 2008, the 150th wedding anniversary of Louis and Marie Zelie Martin, that they would be declared Blessed on Mission Sunday, October 19, 2008. Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin (1831-1877) are the parents of St. Therese of Liseiux.
Louis Martin was a watchmaker who wanted to become a monk, but was refused because he knew no Latin. Marie Zelie, a lacemaker, tried to be a nun, but was rejected as not having a vocation. Marie prayed that she might marry and have children who would be consecrated to God. Louis and Marie met in 1858 and were married three months later. Of their nine children, only five daughters, Marie, Pauline, Leonie, Celine, and Therese survived.
Louis’ business as a watchmaker thrived. He was generous to the poor and never hesitated to give practical help when he saw the need. He was devoted to Marie and their children, teaching them the faith and always ending the evening with family prayer.
Marie was very successful in her business, so much so that Louis sold his watchmaking business to spend full time representing her. As a mother, Marie saw her task as teaching her children to see heaven as their true home. In 1876 Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Realizing that she would die soon, and in constant pain, she continued to do her best for her family. To the last she lived trusting in God, dying in 1877.
The Quattrocchis and the Martins are examples of married couples who in their life and faith are models of the domestic church. Those who knew them personally experienced in their love the great mystery of the relationship of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32).