St. Therese of the Child Jesus
“I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission to make God loved as I love Him, to teach souls my little way. It is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute surrender.” -Words spoken by St. Therese on July 17, 1897
the life of louis & zÉlie martin
Two months before her death from tuberculosis, St. Therese wrote a letter to Fr. Belliere on July 26, 1897 giving a testimonial about her parents. “God gave me a father and a mother more worthy of heaven than of earth; they asked the Lord to give them many children and to take them for Himself. This desire was answered: four little angels flew away to heaven, and five children left in the arena took Jesus for Bridegroom.” (Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II, p. 1165)
Louis Martin was born in 1823 and Zelie Guerin was born in 1831. Both of them attempted unsuccessfully to enter the religious life before they were married on July 13, 1858. They lived as brother and sister for ten months before a confessor intervened and they were blessed with nine children between 1860 and 1873.
Zelie ran a successful lace-making business and Louis was a watch-maker by trade. Both were active in various Catholic organizations and charities. Zelie was a loving and attentive mother who died of breast cancer in 1877. After Zelie’s death, Louis moved his family from Alencon to Lisieux to be near his in-laws so they could help him raise his five daughters. He courageously consented to the entrance of three of of his daughters into the Lisieux Carmel before his death in 1894. The remaining two daughters entered religious life after his death.
Pope Benedict XVI gave Louis and Zelie Martin the title ‘Blessed’ on July 13, 2008, the 150th Anniversary of their marriage. July 13th is their Feast Day.