Saint Elzéar & Blessed Delfina: A Holy Married Couple


St. Elzéar & St. Delfina
I recently learned of a Saint/Blessed married couple who I had never heard of before, and decided to add them to my “Married Couple Saints” post—persistently one of my most clicked-on posts!

A Teenage Marriage — Elzéar and Delfina were born in the late 1200s into families of nobility and wealth near Apt, France.  Their teenage marriage was an arranged one; some sources claim that Elzéar was displeased initially, but through the influence of a Franciscan, accepted the plan.  The couple happily lived a “white marriage” with a mutual decision to dedicate their lives to God; Elzéar and Delfina even became Third Order Franciscans.

An Inheritance in the Kingdom of Naples — Elzéar received an extensive estate and count-ship within the Kingdom of Naples upon his father’s death, and the devout couple moved to Ariano Irpino to oversee the inheritance.  There they continued to carve out healthy chunks of time for prayer, study, contemplation, and service to the poor. Elzéar also had responsibilities to King Robert of Naples, serving as a representative and a military leader; Delfina became an attendant to Queen Sancha of Naples, and it is said that she had an inspiring Christian influence on the queen.

Goodness Until Death — Sadly, in 1323, Elzéar died after 24 years of marriage, at the age of 38 while in Paris doing work for King Robert.  He was canonized a few decades later in 1369.  Upon her husband’s death, Delfina was deeply distressed, yet continued to live heartily as a Secular Franciscan and as an attendant to Queen Sancha.  When the queen died (who interestingly had become a Poor Clare when her husband died), Delfina returned to Apt, France and carried on a life of tremendous charity, deep prayer, and a profound devotion to God.  Delfina died in her 70s (circa 1358) and was buried next to her husband in Apt, France. Veneration for Delfina began immediately upon her death and she was beatified in 1694.

Feast Days — St. Elzéar and Bd. Delfina share a feast day as a married couple.  Apparently, they are honored on September 26 on the Franciscan calendar.  In the current Roman Martyrology, they are listed on the September 27 page.

Delfina’s Cause for Sainthood — I suppose Delfina’s cause has gradually been forgotten over the years, however, it would be neat to see her officially declared as a saint, like her husband.  If the Blessed Delfina inspires you, consider asking her to pray for some need you may have.  Maybe you will receive the miracle she needs to get her cause reactivated.  If a Delfina miracle comes your way, be sure to let someone know!  Two good places to send your story would be the Diocèse of Digne which covers Apt, France, and the International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order  …

Diocèse of Digne
13 Rue Paul Martin
04002 Digne-Les-Bains
CEDEX
France

Website:  www.catho04.fr


Intl. Council of the Secular Franciscan Order - CIOFS
Via Vittorio Putti, 4, Int. 6
00152 Roma, Italia

E-mail: ciofs@ciofs.org 



St. Anthony Messenger - September, 2017

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