St Peter Vatican City

The Pope raises holy men and women to the altars of sainthood at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City where huge crowds of the faithful gather to attend the Holy Mass and Canonization. On October 18, 2015, Pope Francis canonized the parents of Doctor of the Church St Therese of Lisieux, marking the very first time that a married couple with children became saints together. Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Press Inc. Multimedia Services.

Introduction: Witnesses of Christian Life and Love

To be raised up in the altars and be enrolled in the canon of saints and blesseds is the highest public honor which the Catholic Church bestows upon a baptized person postmortem. This act solemnly proclaims that this person now belongs to the triumphant Church and enjoys the beatific vision of God and is thus capable of becoming an intercessor between God and His people. More than for the sake of the beatified or canonized individual, the Church’s official declaration of a person’s sanctity is a source of inspiration and edification for its living, pilgrim members. The Second Vatican Council, in its document Lumen Gentium, reaffirms the Church’s belief that these saints are our companions who join us to Christ, from whom as from its Fountain and Head issues every grace and the very life of the people of God. (1) “The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church” is the title given to the fifth chapter of Lumen Gentium which stresses that the “holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others…” (2)

The lives of the saints manifest the Church’s ideals and goals since each saint presented for public veneration is a living testament of God’s grace working in the lives of His children bringing them into the full maturity of faith, hope, and love. Paul Burns quoting the famous biographer of saints, Alban Butler, writes that: “Examples instruct without usurping the authoritative air of a master… In the lives of the saints we see the most perfect maxims of gospel reduced to practice.”(3) Saints are witnesses to the possibility of living out fully and joyfully the Christian vocation of configuring oneself to Christ. Ultimately sanctity is not a personal effort but a cooperation with the grace of God. It is achieved by responding to the specific vocation God invites the individual to live. If marriage is a specific vocation then it necessarily follows that marriage is a way towards sanctification. However, many have commented about the seemingly low percentage of married individuals being enrolled in the canon of saints excluding those who have suffered martyrdom. This situation may however change as we begin to see more married individuals whose cause for canonization are being processed. The Church, as mother and teacher, is once again taking up its sublime role to instruct the faithful about the Gospel truths through the lives of its members.

The primary objective of this paper is to have a deeper understanding of the vocation and sanctifying nature of marriage and then examine the lives of saintly couples who have been recognized by the Church as being able to achieve fullness of Christian life through their married and family life. In our contemporary society where many questions and issues about marriage have been surfacing, I believe that a profound understanding about the nature of marriage is necessary before entering into any public debate. Amidst the squalls that continue to assail the dignity and integrity of marriage, the examples of the saints provide for us strength and hope in our journey through life and love.

I. The Church’s Understanding of Marriage and the Vocation to Married Life

Matrimony, alongside Holy Orders, has long been considered by the Church as one of the Sacraments of Vocation and Commitment. It is directed toward the nature and mission of the Church which it builds up and manifests at its most natural and familial level. Karol Wojtyla, who would later become St. John Paul II, noted that “the distinctive character of the institution of matrimony is preserved when the community of husband and wife expands to become a family.” (4) The contemporary understanding on the doctrine on marriage springs from the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. The Church firmly believes that “the intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent.” (5) God, therefore, is the author of marriage and pours out manifold graces to the couple in order for them to traverse this path to holiness. The rites and prayers of Matrimony also expresses the Church’s understanding of marriage as a sacrament and a vocation. The alternate collect for the rite of marriage is wonderfully composed with these words: “O God, who in creating the human race willed that man and wife should be one, join we pray, in a bond of inseparable love these your servants who are united in the covenant of Marriage, so that, as you make their love fruitful, they may become, by your grace, witnesses to charity itself.” (6)

Many of the contemporary issues concerning marriage is brought about by fallacious, incomplete or incorrect understanding of its nature and purpose. Theodore Mackin noted that “the most demanding task handed to Catholic theologians of the second half of the nineteenth century was compelled by the secularization of marriage… This task was to explain how it is that every marriage of two Christians is a sacrament.” (7) Nowadays, marriage is merely reduced to elaborate, well-planned and highly-funded social event. On the other extreme, they are those who consider marriage unnecessary and even outdated. The current strands of atheistic and relativistic philosophies are naturally opposed to the sacramentality and stability of marriage. Approaching it from a Christian perspective, marriage is not merely a secular or social institution. Rather, the vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator and raised by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. (8) St. John Paul II, in his Theology of the Body, even indicated that among all the sacraments marriage is the most ancient revelation and manifestation of God’s salvific plan. (9) Therefore, it conveys grace which is more than God’s assistance toward fidelity and performance of marital duties and obligations but even more a pledge of divine life and future blessedness. (10) Recent theologians believe that from the beginning marriage has had in it the potentiality of being taken up into Christ’s redemptive work in and through the Church thus transcending secular affairs. Even before Christ, it has always been a “natural” sacrament and an instrument of God’s work.

Reflecting upon the New Testament teaching on marriage, Schillebeeckx noted that “Christ, the one who loves, redeems and cares for the church, is presented as a model for the husband in his married relationship with his wife.” (11) As a sacrament, marriage “is a specific source and original means of sanctification for Christian married couples and families. It makes specific the sanctifying grace of Baptism.” (12) Through this sacrament a man and a woman establish between themselves a perpetual partnership ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. (13)

Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii, states that

…the sacred partnership of true marriage is constituted both by the will of God and the will of man. From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with the duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution. (14)

The contemporary understanding of marriage has greatly been influenced by the ‘personalist’ philosophies of the 1930s recognizing interpersonal relationship at its natural foundation. (15) According von Hildebrand, it is love which is elevated to a “mysterious communion of love and life in and for Christ” (16) which gives marriage its primary meaning, as a complete and exclusive self-offering or self-surrender of each spouse to the other. Love is the fundamental vocation of the human person realized in marriage. (17) A proper understand thus of marriage necessitates a proper understanding of what love is. Love is oftentimes confused with caprice, with infatuation, with sentiments, with emotions, with purely animal passion by means of which nature achieve her end. But whoever truly loves knows what love is. And only those who have known it can understand that God Himself is love. (18) “Love in marriage refers not to any superficial, romanticized sentiment, but to the deepest, most fundamental reality of human life.” (19)

The understanding of marriage also forms part of the Church’s social doctrine. Marriage and Family Life is never separated from the life of the society. The characteristic traits of marriage include totality, indissolubility and fidelity, and fruitfulness. (20)

II. The Sanctifying Nature of Marriage

God is the author both of the human person and marriage and through opens up the possibility of sharing in His divine life through the outpouring of sanctifying grace. Marriage is a means of holiness, of sanctification. (21) Most of the Church’s catechisms call to mind the three goods of marriage identified by St. Augustine: offspring, fidelity/mutual love and the sacrament. (22) The first two goods of marriage could be traced to the Old Testament account of creation and rendered alternatively as procreation and union. The last good, the sacrament, is revealed in the New Testament where Christ instituted it as a sacrament. Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Letter Arcanum, (23) pointed out that Christ ennobled the marriage in Cana of Galilee by His presence, and made it memorable by the first of the miracles which he wrought; (24) and for this reason, even from that day forth, it seemed as if the beginning of new holiness had been conferred on human marriages. (25)

The first two-fold ends of marriage, procreation and union, are means of participation in God’s work of love and life. This participation leads to sanctification not only of one’s self but also of others who had been touched in one way or another by the lives of the married couple in particular their children whose task of moral and faith education has been entrusted to them.

In the faithful union between husbands and wives, the Church is able to see the reality of Christ’s bridal union with his Church. The first time the word sacrament is used in the New Testament writings is found in the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, where he asserts that “This [marriage] is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” (26) St. John Paul II affirms that “Christians, in receiving the sacrament of marriage, share in God’s creative plan and receive the graces they need to carry out their mission of raising and educating their children, and to respond to the call to holiness.” (27)

The Church’s first systematic teaching on the sanctifying nature of marriage may be traced back to the Council of Trent where the Council affirms twice that marriage confers grace and sanctifies the spouses. (28) Although there is not much stress on these concepts since during those times a greater value is given to those who have “renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” (29) The Second Vatican Council paved the way for a greater appreciation of sanctifying nature of marriage and further developed it by emphasizing that God endowed it with its various goods and ends that demands unity and indissolubility and Christ, elevating it to the dignity of a sacrament, made it into a vocation to holiness. God’s grace sanctifies conjugal love, healing and perfecting it, and leads the couple to live it with truly heroic virtue in the spirit of sacrifice, magnanimity and steadfastness.

III. Married Couples as Models of Christian Holiness in the Modern World

St. John Paul II in his homily during an Ecumenical Service at Columbia, South Carolina in 1987 declared that “contemporary society has a special need of the witness of couples who persevere in their union as an eloquent, even if sometimes suffering, ‘sign’ in our human condition of the steadfastness of God’s love. Day after day, Christian married couples are called to open their hearts ever more to the Holy Spirit, whose power never fails and who enables them to love each other as Christ has loved us.” (30)

During opening Eucharistic Celebration for the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family (2014), Pope Francis stopped to pray in front of the pillar of St Andrew, located in front of the statue of St Peter, where the relics of St Teresa of the Child Jesus were placed, along with those of the Saint’s parents Blesseds Marie-Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin, and of Blesseds Maria Corsini and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi, a couple from Rome. (31) As the Church embarks upon a momentous event of reflection and discernment about the marriage and family life, the Holy Father asks for the intercession of these glorified members of the Church who have shown us the true meaning of marriage. They shine as beacons of hope and witnesses of life and love.

This third part of the paper invites us to turn our gaze toward the examples of two contemporary married couples raised by the Church to the altars as models of Christian holiness lived in matrimony: first, Blesseds Luigi Beltrame Quattorcchi and Maria Corsini and the second, Saints-elect Louis Martin and Marie-Zélie Guérin.

Each generation would have its own particular opportunities and challenges through which the Church responds and teaches. The scarcity of beatified and canonized married individuals in the past centuries does not mean that there were no holy couples living during those times but rather simply reflects its particular ecclesiology and pastoral needs. The identification of the marriage and family as the loci of holiness has been a relatively “new” concept ushered in by the Second Vatican Council. It would, however, take another fifty years before the Church would finally make an historic act of canonizing a married couple together on October 18, 2015 at the Vatican coinciding with the Synod of Bishops on the family.

A. Bl. Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi (1880-1951) and Bl. Maria Corsini (1884-1965): The Grace of Unity (32)

At the inauguration of the twenty-first century, on October 21, 2001 (World Mission Sunday), the Church witnessed the first joint beatification of a married couple in its history. The night before, the Holy Father reminded the married couples who are keeping vigil that God has established the family as the “foundation of human coexistence and the paradigm of ecclesial life,” and exhorted them to “believe in your vocation to be a luminous sign of God’s love.” The lives of Luigi and Maria is a splendid model of how to respond to the grace of the sacrament of marriage and follow the path of holiness. They also showed how it is possible to live the grace of unity despite of the many cultural and historical challenges. Firmly rooted in Christ, they lived out fully their vocation as married couple, giving us a vision of forever, of eternity.

Luigi was a lawyer and civil servant. He was born on January 12, 1880 in Catania and grew up in Urbino, Italy. He was raised up by his childless uncle, from whom he acquired his second surname name. After his basic preparatory education, he enrolled in the Faculty of Jurisprudence at “La Sapienza” University in Rome. He obtained a degree in Law which enabled him to enter the legal service of the Inland Revenue Department. He retired as an honorary deputy attorney general of the Italian State. His meeting with Maria Corsini in her family home in Florence was to shape his future.

Maria dedicated herself to her family and to several charitable and social Catholic movements. Maria was born on June 24, 1884 in Florence to the noble Corsini family. She received a solid cultural formation helped by her family’s involvement in the cultural life of the city of Florence. She loved music and was a professor and writer on educational topics as well as a member of several associations, including Women’s Catholic Action.

Luigi and Maria were married on November 25, 1905 in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. The couple had four children – Filippo, Stefania, Cesare and Enrichetta. Filippo became a diocesan priest. Cesare left home in 1924 to become a Trappist monk. Stefania, in 1927, entered the Benedictine cloister in Milan and took the name Cecilia. At the end of 1913, Maria was again expecting a child, her last, Enrichetta. Because of her difficult pregnancy, the best gynecologists advised her to have an abortion in order to “try to save at least the mother”. The possibility of survival then with that diagnosis, was barely five per cent. Luigi and Maria refused to do it; they put their whole trust in the Lord’s Providence. Maria’s pregnancy was one of suffering and anguish. God responded beyond all human hope and thus Enrichetta was born; both she and her mother were safe. (33)

Their children recalled that their parents led a simple life, like that of many married couples, but always characterized by a sense of the supernatural. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said that they “made a true domestic church of their family, which was open to life, to prayer, to the social apostolate, to solidarity with the poor and to friendship.”

They were a couple who knew how to love and respect each other in the ups and downs of married and family life. They found in the love of God the strength to begin again. They never lost heart despite the negative part of family life: the tragedies of the war, two sons as chaplains in the army, the German occupation of Rome, and lived to see the reconstruction of Italy after the war as they moved forward with the grace of God on the way of heroic sanctity in ordinary life.

Together the couple build up their family but infusing the sense of joy, service and creativity. There was always time for sports, holidays by the sea and in the mountains. Their house was always open to their numerous friends and those who knocked at their door asking for food. During World War II their apartment in Via Depretis, near St. Mary Major, was a shelter for refugees. Every evening they prayed the Rosary together and the family was consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, solemnly placed on the mantlepiece of their dining room. They also kept the family holy hour on the eve of the first Friday of the month, and participated in the night vigil prayer, weekend retreats organized by the Monastery of St Paul-Outside-the-Walls, as well as graduate religious courses at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Maria, who took her maternal and household duties seriously, also found time to pray and write, besides keeping up her demanding apostolic activities, such as supporting the establishment of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart with Armida Barelli and Fr. Agostino Gemelli and taking part in the General Council of the Italian Catholic Women’s Association. She was a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross during the war in Ethiopia and the World War II, catechist, UNITALSI volunteer with Luigi, and together with him and her children, started a scout group for youth from the poor parts of Rome. They were involved in several forms of marriage and family apostolate.

In the midst of all of her busy daily activities, the flourishing of the first three children’s vocations took place, whose developments were followed with love and firmness for a greater generosity and faithfulness to the call of God. In addition, she was willing to offer her fourth child, Enrichetta, to the Lord, if this were asked of her. Then Maria together with her husband, Luigi, undertook the “difficult vow of the most perfect”, offered to the Lord in humble obedience to their spiritual father. This vow means the renouncing of marital relations, which the two decided together after 20 years of marriage, when Luigi was 46 years old and Maria, 41.

In November 1951, Luigi died of a heart attack in his home on via Depretis. After 14 years as a widow, Maria joined Luigi. On 26 August 1965, she died in Enrichetta’s arms at their house in the mountains, at Serravalle.

In this brief snapshot of the couple’s life we see how giving primacy to God, building up a family and the sense of family apostolate in the Church became the streams from which Luigi and Maria grew and remain in unity with God and with one another.

B. [St.] Louis Martin (1823-1894) and [St.] Marie-Zélie Guérin (1831-1877): The Grace of Procreation (34)

[Note: This paper was written before the holy couple was canonized.]

The world eagerly awaits for the historical joint canonization of the first couple in Church history. The couple was beatified at Lisieux on October 19, 2008 (World Mission Sunday), seven years after Luigi and Maria. In the homily of Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, he praised the exemplary testimony of conjugal love between the couple which made possible to learn and practice Christian virtues at home and inspire holiness. (35) They were the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, one of the greatest and beloved saints of modern period. In their lives we see how they participated in God’s work of creation by bringing forth into the world members of the human family and raising them up to become citizens not only of this earth but most importantly of heaven. But this cooperation with the creative action of God is never without challenges.

Among the vocations to which people are called by Providence, marriage is one of the most noble and elevated. Louis and Zélie understood that they could sanctify themselves not despite marriage but through, in, and by marriage.

Louis Martin was a successful watchmaker by trade and later managed his wife’s lace business. Louis’ life had not turned out at all the way he had planned. Born into a family of soldiers, Louis spent his early years at various French military posts. He absorbed the sense of order and discipline that army life engenders. His temperament, deeply influenced by the peculiar French connection between the mystical and the military, tended toward things of the spirit.

At twenty-two, young Louis sought to enter religious life at the monastery of the Augustinian Canons of the Great St. Bernard Hospice in the Alps. The blend of courage and charity the monks and their famous dogs manifested in rescuing travelers in Alpine snows appealed powerfully to Louis Martin. Unfortunately, the Abbot insisted the young candidate learn Latin. Louis, whose bravery would have carried him to the heights of the Alps in search of a lost pilgrim, got himself lost among the peaks and valleys of Latin syntax and grammar. His most determined efforts failed. He became ill and dispirited, and abandoned his hopes for the monastic life.

Eventually, Louis settled down in Alençon, a small city in France, and pursued his watchmaking trade. He loved Alençon. It was a quiet place and he was a quiet man. It even had a lovely trout stream nearby, offering him the opportunity to pursue his favorite recreation.

Most famous of Alençon’s thirteen thousand inhabitants were its lace makers. French people greatly admired the skill and talent required to produce the exquisite lace known throughout the nation as Point d’ Alençon. Zélie Guerin was one of Alençon’s more talented lace makers. Born into a military family, Zélie described her childhood and youth as “dismal.” Her mother and father showed her little affection. As a young lady, she sought unsuccessfully to enter the religious order of the sisters of the Hotel-Dieu. Zélie then learned the Alençon lace-making technique and soon mastered this painstaking craft. Richly talented, creative, eager, and endowed with common sense, she started her own business and became quite successful. Notable as these achievements were, Zélie was yet to reveal the depths of the strength, faith, and courage she possessed.

When Zélie was 26 years old when she encountered the Louis Martin, 34, on the Bridge of St. Leonard over the Sarthe River in Alençon and had a premonition that they would marry. Three months later on July 13, 1858 the wedding took place in the Church of Notre-Dame now the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Alençon. Louis gave Zélie a silver medallion – which he had designed – depicting Sarah and Tobias. (37) This medallion was used as the template for the commemorative medallion issued on the occasion of their Beatification.

After their marriage began the remarkable voyage through life as a couple. Within the next fifteen years, Zélie bore nine children, seven girls and two boys. “We lived only for them,” Zélie wrote; “they were all our happiness.” The Martins’ delight in their children turned to shock and sorrow as tragedy relentlessly and mercilessly stalked their little ones. Within three years, Zélie’s two baby boys, a five year old girl, and a six-and-a-half week old infant girl all died.

Zélie was left numb with sadness. But her faith sustained her through these terrible ordeals. In a letter to her sister-in-law who had lost an infant son, Zélie remembered: “When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I felt sorrow through and through….People said to me, ‘It would have been better never to have had them.’ I couldn’t stand such language. My children were not lost forever; life is short and full of miseries, and we shall find our little ones again up above.”

The Martins’ last child was born January 2, 1873. She was weak and frail, and doctors feared for the infant’s life. The family, so used to death, was preparing for yet another blow. Zélie wrote of her three month old girl: “I have no hope of saving her. The poor little thing suffers horribly….It breaks your heart to see her.” But the baby girl proved to be much tougher than anyone realized. She survived the illness. A year later she was a “big baby, browned by the sun.” “The baby,” Zélie noted, “is full of life, giggles a lot, and is sheer joy to everyone.” Death seemed to grant a reprieve to the Martin household. Although suffering had left its mark on mother and father, it was not the scar of bitterness. Louis and Zélie had already found relief and support in their faith.

The series of tragedies had intensified the love of Louis and Zélie Martin for each other. They poured out their affection on their five surviving daughters; Marie, 12, Pauline, 11, Leonie 9, Celine, 3, and their new-born. Louis and Zélie named their new-born; Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin. A century later people would know her as St. Therese, and call her the “Little Flower.” In 1877, when Thérèse was only four years old, Zélie became very ill and died of cancer. The family was brokenhearted, but they remembered that Zélie prayed with them to help them understand that her illness and death was part of God’s plan.

Louis Martin continued to raise up the family and was regarded as a saint in his lifetime. The last seven years of his life were marked by a severe trial, for him and for his daughters who loved him dearly. In 1887 he suffered several strokes which led to mental paralysis. Confined at first to a mental hospital, he was then cared by his daughter Céline until his death on July 29, 1894.

The Jesuit writer, James Martin commented regarding the Martins upcoming canonization, “The canonization of Louis and Zélie Martin is a reminder from the Vatican that married people are just as holy as–and often holier than–priests, sisters, brothers, bishops, cardinals and popes. And that a marriage is as much a road to holiness as a monastery.”


The vocation to the married life shows us that men and women are called to be “love witnesses” and teaches us that love witnesses. In this first sense, we find that love is embodied in the personhood of the couple who commits themselves to one another in loving freedom. The beatifications of the two saintly couples and the upcoming canonization of the Martins coincide with the Church’s celebration of the “World Mission Sunday” which occurs during the month of October, the “Mission Month”. This coincidence highlights that married couples and their families are the primary locus and fount of missionary activities. They are called to become missionaries proclaiming the Gospel of life and love offered by God to all peoples. St. John Paul II, in Love and Responsibility, declared that the starting point of our understanding of love is that know that “love is always a mutual relationship between persons.” (36) The Love of God for all humanity which is the Good News carried to all corners of the world is first learned and discovered in the family through the love that exists between parents and their children and permeates the home.

“Love witnesses” also refers to the very act of love which is witnessing. Love witnesses to the very essence of the very source of love, who is God Himself. (37) The lives of the married couples is a manifestation or an “epiphany” of God as well. God reveals his essence as love through the grace He communicates to those who hears and listens to His call. Now, more than ever in history, the Church summons her children to bear witness to the love of God which He bestows upon His people, a love made present in the love between married couples, found in the family and overflows into human society making it holy and bringing it back into communion with God.


  1. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium (November 18, 1965), no. 50. [Henceforth all references to this document would be labelled LG.]
  2. Ibid., no. 39.
  3. Paul Burns, introduction to Butler’s Saint for the Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), xii.
  4. Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility, trans. H. T. Willets (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), 218.
  5. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes (December 7, 1965), no. 48. [Henceforth all references to this document would be labelled GS.]
  6. Alternative Collect, Rite of Marriage, in Roman Missal, editio typica tertia (Vatican City: Vatican Press, 2002), 969.
  7. Theodore Mackin, SJ, The Marital Sacrament: Marriage in the Catholic Church. (New York: Paulist Press, 1989), 620.
  8. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994), nos. 1601, 1603. [Henceforth all references to this document would be labelled CCC.]
  9. Cf. Pope John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2006), 487.
  10. Cf. Karl Rahner, S.J., Marriage (Denville, New Jersey: Dimension Books, 1970), 7.
  11. Edward Schillebeeckx, Marriage: Human Reality and Saving Mystery (London: Sheed and Ward, 1965), 116.
  12. Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World Familiaris Consortio (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, November 22, 1981), no. 56 [Henceforth all references to this document would be labeled FC.]; Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Catechism for Filipino Catholics (Manila: CBCP, 1997), no. 1926. [Henceforth all references to this document would be labeled CFC.]
  13. Cf. CCC, no. 1601; Code of Canon Law (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, January 25, 1983), can. 1055 # 1. [Henceforth all references to this document would be labeled CIC.]; GS, no. 48 # 1.
  14. Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Letter on Christian Marriage Casti Connubii (December 31, 1930), no. 9.
  15. Cf. Lisa Sowle Cahill, “Marriage,” in Commentary on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ed. Michael J. Walsh (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994), 321.
  16. 16 Dietrich von Hildebrand, Marriage (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1942), 4.
  17. 17 Cf. CCC, 1604; Gen 1:27 NABRe; 1 Jn 4:8, 16 NABRe.
  18. Rahner, 12.
  19. CFC, no. 1909.
  20. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004), no. 217. [Henceforth all references to this document would be labeled CSDC.]
  21. William May, Marriage: The Rock on which the Family is Built, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 17.
  22. Cf. St. Augustine, De Nuptiis et Concupiscientia 1.17.19 (ML 44.424); Ronald Lawler The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 1976), 507; CFC, 1896; GS, 48-50. The three goods of marriage (bona matrimonii) are rendered in Latin as proles, fides et sacramentum.
  23. Arcanum (or Arcanum divinae sapientiae) is an encyclical letter promulgated by Pope Leo XIII on February 10, 1889 in order to overcome the moral crisis of society as regards to marriage. It is regarded as the forerunner to Pope Pius XI’s 1930 Casti connubii and Pope Paul VI’s 1968 Humanae vitae.
  24. Cf. Jn 2 NABRe.
  25. Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter on Christian Marriage Arcanum (February 10, 1880), no. 8.
  26. Eph 5:32 NABRe.
  27. Pope John Paul II, Homily at Santa Clara, Cuba (January 22, 1998). This is the first homily delivered by the Pope during his apostolic journey to Cuba (January 21-26, 1998) wishing to thank God for the great gift of the family.
  28. Cf. Ramon Garcia de Haro, Marriage and the Family in the Documents of the Magisterium: A Course in the Theology of Marriage (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), 73.
  29. Mt 19:12 NABRe.
  30. Pope John Paul II, Homily during the Ecumenical Service at the Stadium of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, (11 September 1987).
  31. “In Front of the Relics of Exemplary Couples,” L’Osservatore Romano (October 6, 2014). Retrieved August 13, 2015 from
  32. “Bl. Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi (1880-1951) and Bl. Maria Corsini (1884-1965),” EWTN Library (October 10, 2001). Retrieved August 06, 2015 from
  33. We observe similarities of this episode in the Quattrocchis with the life of another well-loved saint, St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
  34. “Louis and Zelie Martin,” Society of the Little Flower (2015). Retrieved August 06, 2015 from
  35. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, “Homily at beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin,” (October 19, 2008), Carmel of Saint Joseph (2008). Retrieved August 06, 2015 from
  36. Sarah and Tobias are Biblical characters in the book of Tobit. Their “love story” narrates the merciful intervention of God in response to their prayers. They were exemplary models of married life in the Old Testament and as such their story is one of the options for the first reading during the celebration of Matrimony.
  37. Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility, 73.
  38. Cf. 1 Jn 4:8 NABRe.

New American Bible Revised Edition. Makati City: St Pauls, 2011.

Church Documents
Conciliar Documents
Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium. November 18, 1965.
__________, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes. December 7, 1965.
Curial Documents
Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994.
Code of Canon Law. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, January 25, 1983.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004.
Roman Missal. Editio typica tertia. Vatican City: Vatican Press, 2002.
Regional Documents
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Catechism for Filipino Catholics. Manila: CBCP, 1997.
Papal Documents
John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World Familiaris Consortio. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, November 22, 1981.
__________. Homily during the Ecumenical Service at the Stadium of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, 11 September 1987.
__________. Homily at Santa Clara, Cuba. January 22, 1998.
__________. Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body. Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2006.
Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter on Christian Marriage Arcanum. February 10, 1880.
Pius XI, Encyclical Letter on Christian Marriage Casti Connubii. December 31, 1930.

Burns, Paul. Butler’s Saint for the Day. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007.
Cahill, Lisa Sowle. “Marriage,” in Commentary on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, edited by Michael
J. Walsh. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994.
Garcia de Haro, Ramon. Marriage and the Family in the Documents of the Magisterium: A Course in the Theology of Marriage. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.
Lawler, Ronald. The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 1976.
May, William. Marriage: The Rock on which the Family is Built, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009.
Rahner, Karl S.J., Marriage. Denville, New Jersey: Dimension Books, 1970.
Schillebeeckx, Edward. Marriage: Human Reality and Saving Mystery. London: Sheed and Ward, 1965.
von Hildebrand, Dietrich. Marriage. London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1942.
Wojtyla, Karol. Love and Responsibility, translated by H. T. Willets. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.

Electronic Sources
“Bl. Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi (1880-1951) and Bl. Maria Corsini (1884-1965).” EWTN Library. October 10, 2001. Retrieved August 06, 2015 from
Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, “Homily at beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin.” (October 19, 2008), Carmel of Saint Joseph (2008). Retrieved August 06, 2015 from
“Louis and Zelie Martin.” Society of the Little Flower (2015). Retrieved August 06, 2015 from
“In Front of the Relics of Exemplary Couples.” L’Osservatore Romano (October 6, 2014). Retrieved August 13, 2015 from

Br. Ryan Oliver D. Bautista, SDB is taking up his second year of studies for the Degree Bachelor in Theology (BTh) in preparation for priesthood.

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