A Polish couple and their seven children, including a newborn baby, will be beatified in Markowa, Poland on Sunday, the Vatican has said.
Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma and their family were murdered by the Nazis in March 1944 for sheltering a Jewish family.
Pope Francis is not expected to attend the ceremony, which will put the family one step closer to sainthood, according to the Vatican’s saint-making arm, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.
In a statement to the press issued Tuesday, the dicastery said Wiktoria Ulma gave birth at the moment she was killed.
“At the time of the massacre, Signora Wiktoria Ulma was in an advanced state of pregnancy with her seventh child,” the statement from the dicastery said.
“This son was born at the moment of his mother’s martyrdom, therefore, was added in the number of children, also martyrs,” it added. The statement went on to say, “In fact, in the martyrdom of his parents he received the baptism of blood.”
The Ulmas’ other children ranged in age from 18 months to 7 years old, according to the Vatican.
The Ulma family were killed for sheltering a Jewish family for 18 months, according to the supporting documents accompanying the beatification, which is the final step before sainthood. The Jewish family were also murdered.
This will be the first time an entire family has been elevated toward sainthood, according to the Vatican’s media office.
It was reported earlier that the seventh child was considered “unborn” and thus the beatification would be the first time an unborn child had been beatified.
But the Vatican clarified on Tuesday that, in fact, the child was born “at the moment” of his mother’s murder, and, as such, is included in the number of living children.
The family’s bodies were exhumed for the ceremony and will reburied after their beatification.