Beatification process for Jacques and Raissa Maritain could begin





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Uploaded on Feb 8, 2011

February 8, 2011. The sainthood process is a lengthy procedure. It's even longer and more complicated when you are dealing with the sainthood of a couple, like these two French intellectuals. Born into a Protestant family, Jacques Maritain and his wife, Raissa, a Russian Jewish émigré, converted to Catholicism, after studying the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Their sainthood would serve as an enduring example of a holy marriage.

They met in 1900 at the Sorbonne in Paris. Together they searched for life's truths through philosophy. Every time they pondered a philosophical notion, they thought they had come closer to the truth, only to find that they had converted themselves into what Raissa Maritain called a "metaphysical opium". It was this desperation that led them to consider suicide.

The truth that they were looking for was described in the philosophical christian studies of Saint Thomas Aquinas and this is the main reason why they converted to Catholicism.

Víctor Soldevila
Pont. John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family
"That unrelenting pursuit of the truth of God from an intellectual standpoint and how they met with friends, in the same search, at times from different points of view, but always with this longing to find the Truth of God. Who is God? And doing so as a couple. That is, not only him as a teacher, but also her as a true intellectual in this search."

Mons. Jean Laffitte
Pontifical Council for Families
"More than 50 people, celebrities, artists, writers converted themselves at their own homes. They met once a week at home with these artists and writers and friends talked about all issues. They had spiritually fruitful intellectual thought."

The relationship they lived in their marriage was also reflected in their philosophical reasoning. Raissa Maritain completed the entries that her husband Jacques made. This profound quest for deep, theological and philosophical answers to the main questions surrounding faith, is the main reason why this couple is being considered for sainthood.

Víctor Soldevila
Pont. John Paul II Institute on Marriage and Family
"In couple life, John Paul II spoke of conjugal love. It's in this dedication to another that God reveals Himself. The measure of this dedication to another is based on the divine life in the sacraments in the life of the Church, like this dedication to another that there creates a structure, a building block of holiness that is very different, depending on each person."

A building block of holiness that might just lead this couple to the altar in marriage once more.
I. Her Life: An Exile in Search of Truth
To know what is." The young Raïssa Oumansov gave her response without hesitation. Her tutor for the Baccalaureat examinations had just asked her what, above all, she wanted to learn. it was a precocious response for a sixteen-year-old to give, but the professor was gratified. It revealed that his young charge had a philosophical mind.1 The future Raïssa Maritain did indeed have a philosophical mind. She viewed philosophy, however, from the perspective of her Hasidic Jewish roots. She was searching to know the truth about a personal God in the face of human suffering.2

Raïssa Maritain was born into a pious Jewish family of modest means in the Russian port city of Rostov-on-Don in 1883. When she was two years old, her father, who was a tailor, moved his family to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. During the ten years that Raïssa lived in the Russian Empire, she was deeply shaped by the piety and traditions of her observant family, especially by the example of her maternal grandfather. Impressed, even at an yearly age, by his joy and gentle goodness, she learned as the years passed the deep source from which they sprang: "they came from his great piety, the piety of the Hasidim, that Jewish mysticism which has its various aspects, sometimes leaning toward the intellect, sometimes toward the emotions, . . . My grandfather's religion was one altogether of love and confidence, of joy and charity."3 Raïssa's understanding of her Hasidic heritage is best seen in her description of the work and personality of another Russian Jew, her friend Marc Chagall.

The tender spiritual joy that permeates his work was born with him in Vitebsk, in Russian soil, in Jewish soil. It is thus penetrated with melancholy, pierced by the sting of nostalgia and a hard-pressed hope. Truly, Jewish joy is not like any other; one might say that by sending its roots deeply into the reality of life, Jewish joy simultaneously draws from this reality the tragic sense of its fragility and of death.


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