Friday, November 2, 2012

Rest in Peace

On All Souls' Day, we remember all the Belgian royal family members who have passed away, particularly those who died in tragic and sudden ways. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. +

Above is one of many memorials to the greatly mourned first wife of Leopold III, Astrid of Sweden, killed in a car accident at 29. The statue is located at Laeken in the Parc du 21 Juillet, commemorating the swearing-in of Belgium's first king. Dedicated in 1940, the Latin inscription translates: "The Belgians to their most noble and most sweet Queen Astrid, with their whole heart." An earnest, loving convert to Catholicism, the religion of her beloved husband and new people, Astrid became a symbol not only of Belgian patriotism but also of the Faith itself. I have seen rumors online that Astrid was even considered for possible beatification at some point, but I have not been able to confirm these claims. There have definitely been suggestions of introducing the cause of her son, King Baudouin. It is worth noting that the famed Italian mystic, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, apparently thought very highly of Queen Astrid and her father-in-law, King Albert, who suffered a similarly tragic and untimely death, believing them both to be "close to the Lord" in the afterlife. Whether or not anyone in the family ever receives official ecclesiastical recognition on earth, let us hope and pray that they may all be numbered among the saints in heaven.

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