The Vatican also announced on July 13, 2008, the 150th wedding anniversary of LOUIS and MARIE ZELIE MARTIN, that they would be declared Blessed on Mission Sunday, October 19, 2008. Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin (1831-1877) are the parents of ST. THERESE of LISEIUX.
Louis Martin was a watchmaker who wanted to become a monk, but was refused because he knew no Latin. Marie Zelie, a lacemaker, tried to be a nun, but was rejected as not having a vocation. Marie prayed that she might marry and have children who would be consecrated to God. Louis and Marie met in 1858 and were married three months later. Of their nine children, only five daughters, Marie, Pauline, Leonie, Celine, and Therese survived.
Louis' business as a watchmaker thrived. He was generous to the poor and never hesitated to give practical help when he saw the need. He was devoted to Marie and their children, teaching them the faith and always ending the evening with family prayer.
|With St. Therese|
Marie was very successful in her business, so much so that Louis sold his watchmaking business to spend full time representing her. As a mother, Marie saw her task as teaching her children to see heaven as their true home. In 1876 Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Realizing that she would die soon, and in constant pain, she continued to do her best for her family. To the last she lived trusting in God, dying in 1877.
Alongside this strong, tender, but undeniably domineering woman Louis Martin seems to have been made of much softer stuff. He was a dreamer and brooder, an idealist and romantic. He loved nature with a deep sentimental enthusiasm. From him Thérèse inherited her passion for flowers and meadows, for her native landscape, for clouds, thunderstorms, the sea, and the stars.
There was also a love of travel. Bl. Louis made pilgrimages to Chartres and Lourdes, went to Germany and Austria, traveled twice to Rome and even to Constantinople. Along with this desire for adventure was an impulse towards withdrawal. In Lisieux he arranged a little den for himself high up in the attic, a true monastic cell for praying, reading and meditation. Even his daughters were allowed to enter it only if they wished spiritual converse and self-examination. As in a monastery, he divided the day into worship, garden work and relaxation.
In 1889 Louis suffered two paralyzing strokes followed by cerebral arteriosclerosis, and was hospitalized for three years at the Bon Sauveur asylum in Caen. In 1892 he returned to Lisieux, where his daughters Céline and Léonie looked after him devotedly until his death on July 29, 1894 at the chateau La Musse near Évreux.
The Quattrocchis (previous blog) and the Martins are examples of married couples who in their life and faith are models of the domestic church. Those who knew them personally experienced in their love the great mystery of the relationship of Christ and the Church.
|The Martin Family|