What Parents of Sick Children Need Most

Couple Tells of Cure Through Intercession of Martin Spouses

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By Carmen Elena Villa

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Our child's cure by the intercession of the parents of St. Thérèse was the second miracle; first was the peace of heart on accepting our child's incurable illness, say the parents of Pietro Schilirò.

Valter and Adele Schilirò, along with their child Pietro, spoke with ZENIT today about the miraculous cure which led to the Oct. 19 beatification of the spouses Marie Zélie Guérin and Louis Martin, parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

The six-year-old child explained, "I was born sick and when I was sick the Martin spouses asked Jesus to cure me and he cured me."

The Schilirò family was in Rome to participate in today's audience with Benedict XVI, where relics of the Martins were present.

Miracle story

Pietro is the youngest of five children. On the day of his birth, May 25, 2002, a serious lung malformation was discovered, and he was put into intensive therapy in order to be able to breathe.

Valter explained, "Soon we realized that the sickness was very serious. There was no possibility of a cure."

They decided to do a biopsy, in spite of the risk to the baby, in an attempt to determine the cause of the problems. Beforehand, however, they wanted to baptize the infant.

Carmelite Father Antonio Sangalli baptized the child, and gave its parents a holy card of the Martin couple.

"They had lost four children at a tender age," said Adele. "Thus they could help us in this situation and in whatever the Lord was asking us in that moment."

Valter added that in the midst of the uncertainty about the health of their child, they found a "mysterious closeness with the Martin spouses."

The mother continued: "We dared to ask the Lord that thing that we carried in our hearts: the cure of Pietro. The Lord had put us in the hands of the Martin spouses."

In the midst of suffering, upon seeing their newborn connected to apparatus in order to be able to breathe, the Schilirò's understood that they had to ask God what his will was for Pietro.

Valter affirmed "For us this has been very important because it helped us to see what our son was living. He was fully living his vocation through what he was suffering. He participated in the salvation of souls with Jesus. For us this was the first miracle."

On June 26, Pietro suffered a respiratory crisis, and "the doctors told us that it was a question of hours" and that there was no hope for Pietro, said Adele.

The parents prayed a novena to the Martin couple, and on June 29 the infant began to show signs of getting better.

Two weeks later, Pietro was breathing naturally. The doctors assured them that the cure was "a surprising event." Thus, the Schilirò couple submitted the story for the beatification cause of the Martin couple.

"What happened to Pietro is something for the whole Church," explained Valter. "In fact, today we are here to present this reliquary to the Pope, which is a sign of thanksgiving for the whole Church."

Today Pietro is a normal boy: He plays, goes to school and knows very well that he was cured thanks to the miracle of the Martin spouses.

Pietro's parents understand what it means to trust in Providence when they suffer for the health of their children. Valter affirmed, "I would advise parents of sick children to not lose hope of coming closer to Christ through his saints.

"Dare to pray, because the Lord is a good Father. It is necessary to have this strength of understanding that all that occurs is always for the good of all."

Adele added, "It is a moment of testing, and the Lord asks us for a lot, but if you put your hope and faith in him, he will fill you with much more. It is necessary to pray for the conversion of one's own heart. This is always the first cure that should be prayed for."