Luigi Quattrochi (1880-1951) married Maria Corsini (1884-1965) in Rome, Italy, in 1905. During their more than four decades of marriage, Luigi became a lawyer, and Maria became a professor of education. Together, they had four children.
When Pope John Paul II announced the beatification of this married couple, he declared that they had lived “an ordinary life in an extraordinary way”. What made Luigi and Maria, as individuals and as a couple, so remarkable that they were the first married couple to be declared blesseds at the same time?
Some might think it was because of their holy children. Three of their children entered religious life; one became a priest, one became a nun, and one became a monk. The fourth child lived such a holy life that she’s a candidate for beatification herself. But having devout children is not sufficient cause for beatification, even though it would be very difficult to imagine every single child in a family growing up to be a faithful Catholic without those children having had very faithful Catholic parents.
Some might think the recognition of the holiness was due to their careers and public service. At the height of his career, Luigi was a prominent lawyer and attorney general of Italy. Maria was a noted public speaker and also very active in Catholic Action. (Several European nations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were governed by anti-Catholic regimes; Catholic Action was a lay association that asserted the rights of Catholics to live and behave like Catholics, peacefully but without apology for being Catholic.) During World War II, Luigi and Maria lived under Fascist rule, and when they recognized the dangers of Fascism, they opposed it. They even took the difficult and unpopular step of housing Jewish refugees in their own home.
But some of their sufferings were much more personal. Maria was diagnosed with placenta praevia during her fourth pregnancy, and she was advised to have an abortion. The condition was not treatable at that time, and the doctors recommended aborting the child to save the mother’s life. When Luigi and Maria received this terrible news, they prayed. Then they asked the doctors to induce premature labor—and credited God’s grace and mercy when both mother and child safely survived.
Did this miracle occur because God had already drawn so close to the hearts of this loving couple? After all, they received Communion daily, prayed a family rosary, volunteered as scout leaders for their kids, and served the needy in their parish and community. While we cannot know why God chose to miraculously save their unborn child, we can know one thing about how Blesseds Luigi and Maria became holy: they did it together. That path to sanctity is one that every Catholic couple can try to follow.
Blesseds Luigi and Maria, help me to become a saint.