God protects all who trust in Him. Not a single person has ever been abandoned by Him. When I think of what God, in whom I’ve put all my trust and in whose hands I’ve put the care of my whole life, has done for me and my husband, I don’t doubt that His Divine Providence watches over His children with special care.
St. Zélie Martin
At midnight on Tuesday, 13 July 1858, in the historic northern town of Alençon, Normandy, France, not far from the beautiful Perseigne Forest, Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin were united in the sacrament of marriage.
The ceremony took place in the church of Notre Dame and together with F. Hurel, the officiating priest, a few chosen friends were the sole observers of the scene [the ceremony took place at midnight, which was not uncommon in those times]. The church ceremony was preceded by a civil marriage required by law, which had taken place at 10 p.m.
It had been just three months since their first meeting.
In regard to financial matters, Louis was worth 22,000 francs in addition to possessing two houses. Zélie brought a dowry of 5,000 francs and in addition had accumulated 7,000 francs from her lace business.
1858 was also a historic year in terms of church life in France. In the extreme southern part of the country in the equally historic town of Lourdes, only two days later, quite remarkable events were unfolding. On July 16, on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a young peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, said farewell to her ‘beautiful lady’ at the rocky grotto of Massabielle.
But the story did not end there.
Bernadette’s mission and message for a sick, suffering and often searching humanity were about to begin. Many years later Zélie, now a seriously ill mother stricken with cancer, would make a difficult pilgrimage to the shrine of Lourdes, desperately seeking a cure.
Timothy (Tadgh) Tierney, O.C.D.
Saints Zélie and Louis Martin: Parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Chapter 3, A marriage made in heaven
We always refer to the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux for the vast majority of our quotes concerning Saint Thérèse, Saint Zélie, and Saint Louis Martin, but if you would like to purchase any of the English translations that appear on the Archives website, please visit the website of our Discalced Carmelite friars at ICS Publications.
Leave a Reply