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Brazilian couple to be beatified, also abolished slavery on their estate

2015-11-15

Saint Therese of Lisieux parent´s Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin are the first married couple to be canonized together. 

However, they are not the only married couple, nor will they be the last to reach sainthood. In recent months, there has been a push to beatify Jeronimo de Castro Abreu Magallanes and Celia Pedreira Abreu Magallanes

They were wealthy Brazilian estate owners during the 19th century, which was also a time of enslavement. 

PAOLO VILOTTA
Postulate Cause
"They treated the enslaved as workers. They did not only think of them as workers, or employees, rather as all a part of a huge family. The proof is in the fact that none of the workers chose to leave the estate when slavery was outlawed, despite now being free.”

Celia personally taught catechism classes to the slaves. She also helped them in any way she could. The couple had already abolished slavery in their Santa Fe estate. Each worker received a salary.

Her husband was a support system for Celia. He was a well known engineer from Rio de Janeiro and used his talents for various Church projects.

PAOLO VILOTTA
Postulate Cause
"He built houses and chapels for the churches in the region, without accepting money.  These are two people who complimented one another. We can see them as exemplary individuals, but  more so as being an exemplary marriage.”

Jeronimo and Celia had 13 kids, out of which four died. The nine surviving children were all devout Catholics. In fact, upon the death of her husband, Celia entered a convent. She sold all her belongings and gave the money to those in charge of helping the needy.

Both passed away already well known for saintly qualities because of their charity and generosity. They dedicated their life to teaching the Gospel to their children. That includes the slaves, who they considered as part of the family. 


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