• 22 Sep 22

Sep 22 - “Sts. Louis & Zélie Martin with St. Thérèse of Lisieux & Siblings” © icon by Paolo Orlando.

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Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, are the first spouses who were not martyrs to be canonized as a couple (October 18, 2015). Louis was a watchmaker, Zélie a manufacturer of point d’Alencon lace.  They married in 1858 and had nine children.  In this icon by Paolo Orlando they are pictured with the five daughters who survived to adulthood:  Marie, Pauline, Céline, and Thérèse in the Carmelite habit, and Léonie in the habit of the Visitation.  An inquiry into Léonie’s possible sainthood was opened in 2015.  Also pictured are the four children who died young:  Marie-Mélanie-Thérèse, Marie-Joseph-Louis, Marie-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste, and Marie-Hélène, who died at the age of five. 

In nineteen years of married life, Louis and Zélie faced many challenges: becoming skilled artisans; searching for good child care; educating a special child; caring for aging parents; finding energy to pray and to be active in their parish; forming their children in the faith.  Loving spouses and parents and devout Catholics, they were faithful to prayer and to the works of mercy.  They supported the poor and the Church generously with energy as well as with money, and served the needs of their employees, servants, tenants, and neighbors.   Faced with frequent and serious sickness in the family and with the deaths of four children, they were constant in faith, hope, and love.  In 1877 Zélie died of breast cancer at 45, leaving Louis with five minor daughters.  He was diagnosed with cerebral arteriosclerosis and spent three years in a mental hospital before his death in 1894.  They lived heroically their motto: “God must be served first.” 

 

Their Feast Day is July 12.

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