The love story of Blessed Charles of Austria and his wife, Servant of God Zita, is better than any fairy tale. Throughout their entire relationship the two lovebirds turned to the author of love, God himself.
Charles and Zita knew each other during childhood, but it wasn’t until Zita was 19 and Charles 24 that the two started to spend more time with each other.
One day Charles heard a rumor that Zita was engaged to someone else. He raced to inquire about the truth and when he discovered it was false, Charles made immediate plans to ask her hand in marriage before any other possible suitor.
Both shared a love of the Catholic faith and so it wasn’t a surprise that Charles proposed to Zita inside the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary (also known as the Mariazell Shrine) in Austria. They loved the Virgin Mary and made it a point to start their marriage off under her protection.
Charles and Zita had their wedding rings inscribed with a prayer in Latin: “Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix” (“We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God”). It is the beginning of an ancient prayer to the Virgin Mary that expresses a desire to remain under the loving gaze of the Blessed Mother.
After the wedding ceremony they returned to the Mariazell Shrine in an act of thanksgiving on the way to their honeymoon.
As much as they could, they stayed with each other side-by-side and continued to love each other with an everlasting love.
Charles’ dying words to Zita were, “I’ll love you forever.”
Zita wore black for the rest of her life, signifying the loss of her true love. While their bodies were buried separately (Zita with the Habsburg family and Charles in his place of exile), their hearts were reunited and are kept together in the Marian chapel to Our Lady of Loreto at Muri Abbey in Switzerland.
While they experienced many trials during their lifetime, their undying love for each other, united to the love of God, allowed them to live happily ever after in the eternal bliss of Heaven.
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