By Nora V. Clemente - Arnaldo
I am a pro-life advocate so much so that when I came across an article about a couple beatified by Pope John Paul II for being pro-life witnesses, I thought it would be worth sharing with you, dear readers.
Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi was born in Catania, Sicily on January 12, 1880. His father, Charles, was a civil servant born in Northern Italy who then transferred to Sicily. Luigi eventually moved to Rome to study Law. Maria Corsini, on the other hand, was born in Florence to one of the oldest Florentine families. She was related to Pope Clement XII who reigned from 1730-1740. Her father, Angiolo, was an officer in the Sardinian Granadiers, reputedly the most prestigious Italian army regiment. This afforded Maria an excellent cultural education; she spoke several foreign languages and on top of that, she was an accomplished musician.
The two young people met in 1899. On November 25, 1902, they were wed in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Luigi was a government attorney in his entire career.
Luigi and Maria Quattrocchi were blessed with four children. Three of them are still living today. Their eldest son, named Filippo, became a diocesan priest, taking the name of Don Tarcisio. Their daughter Stefania, who died in 1993, took the name of Sister Maria Cecilia upon entering the Benedictines. Another son, Cesare, is also a Benedictine and is now Fr. Paulino. Their fourth child is a girl named Enrichetta.
It is said that, in 1913, Maria was expecting this fourth child. A distinguished Roman gynecologist, by the name of Dr. Regnoli, diagnosed Maria with placenta previa when she was in her fourth month of pregnancy. Maria suffered terrible hemorrhages since the placenta was implanted in the lower part of the uterus, obstructing the cervical opening to the birth canal. With the limited medical techniques then, the doctor told Maria that to save her life there should be an abortion.
Without abortion, he said, Maria Quattrocchi would only have a five percent chance of survival; and there was no hope for the baby’s survival either. Pious as they were, Luigi and Maria ruled out abortion as an option. They would rather put their full trust in Divine Providence. Maria remained in bed for the duration of the pregnancy and our Lord in His great magnanimity and omnipotence rewarded their firm faith so that on April 6, 1914, Maria had a safe delivery of their fourth child, a daughter.
This family’s spiritual and apostolic life is exemplary, and it included consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, daily Mass, and the Rosary in the evenings. They observed the First Friday family hour and participated in retreats organized by the monastery of St. Paul Outside- the-Walls. They also helped found the Catholic Scouting movement in Italy and sponsored a scout troop for disadvantaged youth from the poorer parts of Rome. It is noted that they risked their lives more than once, assisting and hiding refugees.
According to the author, what impressed many about this loving couple was their humble and ordinary faith lived in an extraordinary way. The good Pope also stressed the important pro-life witness of this holy couple.
On November 9, 1951, Luigi died of heart attack at the age of 71. Maria remained an active writer on the family and religious matters for many more years. Then, on August 26, 1965, she went back to the bosom of her Creator at the age of 81 at Serraville in Tuscany. Visitors to Rome can venerate their relics at the Divino Amore (Divine Love) Shrine in the outskirts of Rome.
The beatification cause of Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Quattrocchi was opened in November 25, 1994. They were declared Blessed following the miracle of a young man healed of an ailment with prayers asking for their intercession. On October 21, 2001, Pope John Paul II beatified Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Quattrocchi who, according to the Pope, “lived married love and service to life in the light of the Gospel and with great human intensity”.
Luigi and Maria Quattrocchi are the first jointly beatified married couple of the Catholic Church. Currently awaiting sainthood, the day of their memorial is celebrated every Nov. 25 in Italy.
The edifying story of this couple is like a clean and refreshing breeze amidst the suffocating air spawned by the controversial RH Bill. As Luigi and Maria provide a shining example for married couples today, let us pray that God will increase their tribe.
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