Quote of the day: 22 January

In February 1889, Saint Louis Martin was committed to Bon Sauveur Mental Hospital in Caen, France. That difficult closing chapter in the saint’s life certainly was preceded by difficult days and months for the family. St. Louis wandered away from his home and disappeared, much like dementia patients today. This 1889 letter from Céline Martin to her cousin Jeanne Guérin, dated on 21 or 22 January, asking her to contact Saint Zélie’s brother, Isidore, gives us insight into the challenges that Céline faced as she cared for her father.


My dear little Jeanne,

You can write to my uncle (he’s in Evreux) that the day really wasn’t bad. This morning, the same restlessness as yesterday, no shouting, laughter for 1 or 2 hours, crying, clapping hands, conversations as if I were in his room and he would respond to me about something. This afternoon a complete calm, even sleep, he said that of course, I had made him take something to make him sleep. He wanted to be alone. There were loud shouts and again he was having conversations with himself.

Dear little Sister, the Cross is heavy but Jesus is there. He carried it for us, why shouldn’t we carry it for him?

Our Lord told Blessed Margaret Mary [Alacoque] that the Cross was the most precious pledge of his love that he could give us in this life.

St. Francis Xavier used to say: The absence of the Cross is the absence of life!

How vile the earth seems to those who see it from Heaven.

Dearest little sister, life is short.

… Our little boat is at the moment being rocked by a violent storm, the furious waves are submerging it and almost swallowing it up but the dear Captain—Jesus—won’t let it sink. Soon—the port… Soon—joy, rest, happiness! …

Right away, we are not giving Jesus pearls, but diamonds, jewels of all kinds. It’s up to us to draw from the source that is inexhaustible and this source is suffering, bitterness—this treasure is the Cross!

Your little sister who loves you

Céline

 

Lost Tomas Vimmr IGsize
Lost memories … | Tomas Vimmr / Flickr

 

 

This English translation from the French original text of Céline Martin's letter is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

 

Quote of the day: 18 October

Ordinary Process

Beatification of Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Witness 3 — Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

Our parents were reputed to be extremely devout. Our mother fasted during Lent, without using the mitigations permitted. Every day my father and mother attended Mass at 5:30 am, because they said it was the poor people’s Mass. They took Communion frequently, more than once a week, which was quite exceptional for the time. In Lisieux, my father took Communion four or five times a week. My mother loathed society life and wanted nothing luxurious in the house. Reading the life of Madame Acarie (Bl. Marie of the Incarnation) one day, our mother said, “How fortunate she was to have given her three daughters to God!” Our mother had an extremely energetic and lively character, but was not harsh, with a very sensitive and very generous heart. Above all she showed great abnegation which meant she was self-forgetful and worked very arduously in order to have the means to give us a thorough Christian education. Also, in hardship, for example when my brothers and sisters died, she showed astonishing strength of character. Yet you can see from her letters that her heart was broken; but her faith helped her overcome everything. Our father’s dominant characteristic was great righteousness. He made it his duty to affirm his faith, even in front of unbelievers. When the priest brought the Holy Viaticum to our dying mother, he decided to accompany the Blessed Sacrament all the way to the church himself, holding a candle. He was very charitable and wholly devoted to his neighbor, never allowing ill to be spoken of anyone. His overall character gave an impression of goodness. He was also noted for his very pure life, which was reflected in his whole person. He was extremely careful to distance us from anything he considered to be a temptation.

 

Official-Vatican-Portrait
The official portrait for the canonization banner of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, 18 October 2015 | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Apostolic Process

Canonization of Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Witness 7 — Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

Our parents were models of every virtue; they attended Holy Mass every day, rising at 5 o’clock in the morning to do so. They would fast throughout Lent without slackening. They observed Sunday rest very faithfully. They would not have taken the liberty to arrange a trip on a Sunday, even a needful one. My father lost many sales opportunities because, unlike the other jewelers in town, he refused to open his shop on Sundays, even though his confessor left him free to do so.

My father had a generous character and placed human dignity above all else. He would never pass by a church without bowing, in whoever’s company he was. He would faithfully attend Night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every month, and when he moved to Lisieux, he obtained permission to establish the practice in the town. My father and mother had a deep faith, and to hear them talk together about heaven, though we were very young, we came to consider the things of the world as pure vanities.

My mother watched over the spiritual life of her children very carefully, and the smallest of faults would never go unchecked. She very much hoped to see signs of future sainthood in us. Referring to Thérèse, she said, “As for Thérèse, I do not yet know what she will be; she is so small! However, she has an intelligence that I haven’t seen in any of my children, and she always wears an angelic smile”.

My father and mother had a great devotion to the Bl. Virgin. That’s why they gave the name Mary to all their children, both boys and girls. Before he married, my father placed a statue of the Bl. Virgin on a path in his garden, and later it would become very dear to the whole family. It was this very statue that was in Thérèse’s childhood bedroom and which came to life and smiled at her when she was very sick. Praying at the foot of the same statue, my mother was granted very great favours. My parents were very helpful to the poor. When a servant happened to fall ill with rheumatoid arthritis, my mother treated her herself, day and night, for several weeks, not wishing to send her back to her parents because they were poor.

 


On 18 October 2015 Pope Francis canonized Marie Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin, the first spouses to be canonized as a married couple.  You can learn more about the astounding miracle that led to their canonization in the video below. You can view photos of the canonization Mass here. Blessed be God forever!

 

Léonie Martin—Sr. François-Thérèse, V.H.M.—was the seventh witness at the diocesan inquiry for the cause of beatification of her sister, Thérèse. In her response to the 21st question concerning the theological virtue of faith, she mentioned this incident… 


Her spirit of faith allowed her to see all things from a spiritual point of view. The letters she wrote to me spoke only of God and she only ever considered events from the point of view of faith. When our father died, she wrote (20th August 1894):

I am thinking more than ever about you ever since our dear Father went up to heaven… Papa’s death does not give me the impression of a death but of a real life. I am finding him once more after an absence of 6 years, I feel him around me, looking at me and protecting me. Dear little Sister, are we not more united now that we gaze on the heavens to find there a Father and a Mother who offered us to Jesus? … Soon their desires shall be accomplished, and all the children God gave them are going to be united to Him forever.

Saint Louis Martin died 29 July 1894

Read more from Léonie, Witness 7 at the Diocese of Lisieux Interrogatory

 

sea of clouds sunrise wallpaper
Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 12 July

We arrived yesterday afternoon at four-thirty. My brother was waiting for us at the station and was delighted to see us. He and his wife are doing everything they can to entertain us. This evening, Sunday, there’s a beautiful reception in their home in our honor….

As for me, I’m finding it hard to relax! None of that interests me! I’m absolutely like the fish you pull out of the water. They’re no longer in their element and they have to perish! This would have the same effect on me if I had to stay a lot longer. I feel uncomfortable, I’m out of sorts. This is affecting me physically, and it’s almost making me sick. However, I’m reasoning with myself and trying to gain the upper hand. I’m with you in spirit all day, and I say to myself, “Now he must be doing such and such a thing.”

I’m longing to be near you, my dear Louis. I love you with all my heart, and I feel my affection so much more when you’re not here with me. It would be impossible for me to live apart from you.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin
Letter CF 108 to Saint Louis Martin (excerpt)
Lisieux, 31 August 1873

 

Louis-Zelie-Therese reliquary (2)
The relics of the Martin family saints: Louis, Thérèse, and Azélie | Tony Basilio / Flickr

 

Explore more of the correspondence of Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin here.

12 July: Saint Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin

July 12
SAINT LOUIS MARTIN AND ZELIE GUERIN

Optional Memorial

Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux, on August 22, 1823. While he was master-watchmaker in Alençon, he met Marie Azelie (Zelie) Guerin, a lace maker, born in Gandelain (St-Denis-sur-Sarthon), on December 23, 1831. They were married on July 13, 1858,and had nine children, including the future Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus. Model spouses, devoted parents, workers, attentive to the poor, always nourishing a missionary spirit, they found their strength and hope in regular attendance at Holy Mass and in a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin. After a long illness Zelie died in Alençon on August 28, 1877. Louis, in retirement, went to Lisieux near his in-laws to ensure a better future for his five children (the other four having died in infancy). This patriarch of the family, after offering all his children to God, knew suffering and illness. He died near Evreux on July 29, 1894.

From the Common of Holy Men, with the psalms of the day.

Office of Readings

The Second Reading
(Zelie et Louis Martin, Correspondance Familiale [1863 – 1885].  Paris, 2004, L1, 72, 130, 81, 110, 147, 179, 204)

From the Letters of St. Zelie Martin

We must be willing to accept generously the will of the good God

My dear friend, I am really worried about you.  Every day my husband makes sad prophecies. He knows Paris and told me that you will be exposed to temptations that, because you are not pious enough, you will not be able to overcome.  He told me that he experienced them himself, and that he needed a lot of courage to come out victoriously from all the battles. If you only knew what trials he had to go through … I beg you, my dear Isidore (Zelie’s brother), to do as I did; pray, and you will not be carried away by the current.  If you succumb once you will be lost. On the road to perdition as on the road to salvation the first step is all important; afterwards you will be carried away by the current.

When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I really felt the pain.  It is a pain to which I have always been resigned. I do not regret the pains and the anxieties I have had to endure on their account.  Many people have said to me: “It would have been better if you had never had them.” I cannot tolerate these words.  The pains and anxieties of this life cannot be compared to the eternal happiness of my children.  After all, they have not been lost forever, life is short and full of suffering, we shall find them in heaven.

Little Therese is always well and looks very healthy.  She is very intelligent and we have very amusing conversations.  She already knows how to pray to God. Every Sunday, she goes for some part of Vespers and if, by mistake, the family forgets to bring her there she cries uncontrollably.

My sister has spoken to me a great deal about your business… I told her not to break her neck because of this, that there is only one thing to do, pray to God, because neither she, nor I, can help you in any other way.  However, He, who is never embarrassed, will rescue us from all this when He sees that we have suffered enough, and then, you will recognize that your success is not due either to your ability or to your intelligence, but to God alone, as it happens with my lace making; this conviction is very beneficial, I have experienced it myself.  You know that we are all inclined to be proud and I notice often that those who have made their fortune are, for the most part, unbearably self-important. I am not saying that I would have been like this, nor you either, but we would have been somewhat tainted by pride; it is a fact that constant prosperity leads one away from God. He never led his chosen ones along this path, they had to pass first through the crucible of suffering in order to be purified.  You are going to say that I am preaching, but no matter I don’t wish to. I think of these things very often and I share them with you; now, call that a sermon if you like!

My dear children, I must go to Vespers to pray for the intention of our dear deceased relatives.  The day will come when you will do this for me, but I must make sure that I do not have so great a need of your prayers.  I would like to become a saint but this will not be easy; there is a lot of wood to burn but it is as hard as stone. It would have been better if I had begun earlier, when it was less difficult, but anyhow “it is better late than never.”

Today is then Wednesday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception which is a great feast for me!  On this day, the Blessed Virgin truly gave me many very special graces… This year, I will go again to find the Blessed Virgin early in the morning… my only prayer will be that those that she has given me will all be saints and that I shall not be too far behind, but they must be much better than me.

Doctor Notta is very sorry that they did not operate at the beginning, as by now it is too late.  However, he seems to be saying that I can go on for a very long time like this. But more than that we put ourselves in God’s hands, who knows better than us what we need, “it is He who wounds but also heals.”  I will go to Lourdes on the first pilgrimage, and I hope that the Blessed Virgin will heal me, if that is what is needed. Let’s remain calm while we wait.

Before leaving, I will assist at the first Mass here, arriving in Le Mans at nine o’clock, still in time to attend the High Mass, after that I will come for you… At the beginning, your father was not happy that I took all three of you, but he wishes it now, and says that we cannot make enough sacrifices to obtain so great a miracle.  Even if I do not obtain it, I will never regret taking you there. We must be willing to accept generously the will of God, whatever it is, because it will always be what is best for us.

Responsory

R/.  Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.
V/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

Prayer

O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

 


Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

 

Official-Vatican-Portrait
Saint Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, banner for their canonization (courtesy Discalced Carmelites)

Quote of the day: 6 June

Lisieux 7th June 94.

Dear little Jeanne

I have come to bring you news of our sick, and it is quite satisfactory. Uncle is having great difficulty recovering from his last attack. His breathing is very heavy at times like someone out of breath, then there are two minutes when he has no air to breath at all. He has been looking very exhausted and despondent since his last attack, so his condition is still very precarious….

Your little sister

Marie

Marie Guérin
Sister Marie of the Eucharist (1870-1905)

 


On 5 June 1894, St. Louis Martin suffered the first of two serious heart attacks that ultimately led to his death on 29 July 1894 at 70 years of age. Read the account of his heart attack here and the rest of Marie’s letter here.

 

Sunset Tears
Sunset Tears | Nathalie / Flickr

 

 

Our Lady of the Pillar in Chartres Cathedral
Notre-Dame du Pilier (Our Lady of the Pillar) is a statue of the Virgin, carved from pear wood, that was sculpted ca. 1540 | jorisvo / 123RF

 

Pray a lot, my dear little girl, for the success of the pilgrimage to Chartres in which I will be participating. It will bring together many pilgrims from all over our beautiful France to the feet of the Blessed Mother to receive the graces our country needs so much in order to prove itself worthy of its past.

Saint Louis Martin
Letter to Pauline Martin (excerpt), May 1873

 


The official website of the Cathedral of Chartres provides background on the pilgrimages of which Saint Louis Martin writes. Learn more here (in French).

Oklahoma State professor emeritus of history Joseph F. Byrnes published an article on the pilgrimage to Chartres in the journal, Marian Library Studies: Perspectives of “La Voix de Notre-Dame de Chartres” on the Pilgrimage at Chartres During the XIXth and XXth Centuries: A Profile in Social History

Can a mother have any greater honor?

Louis-Zelie_b&w
Saints Zélie and Louis Martin

Like my father, my mother was very detached from earthly things. She was highly intelligent and had extraordinary energy: difficulties were nothing to her. Her spirit of faith was remarkable and helped her to endure life’s many hardships. When she lost her children, she knew immediately where they would be and overcame her immense grief. She wrote, “I wanted to have many children in order to bring them up for heaven”.

Sr. Geneviève of Saint Teresa, O.C.D. (Céline Martin)
Witness 8 for the Diocesan Process

Vierge-du-Sourire_Martin-home
The Virgin of the Smile

My father and mother had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. That’s why they gave the name Mary to all their children, both boys and girls. Before he married, my father placed a statue of the Blessed Virgin on a path in his garden, and later it would become very dear to the whole family. It was this very statue that was in Thérèse’s childhood bedroom and which came to life and smiled at her when she was very sick. Praying at the foot of the same statue, my mother was granted very great favors. My parents were very helpful to the poor. When a servant happened to fall ill with rheumatoid arthritis, my mother treated her herself, day and night, for several weeks, not wishing to send her back to her parents because they were poor.

Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. (Marie Martin)
Witness 7 for the Diocesan Process

Lace-making pattern used by Saint Zélie Martin

My mother was abnegation personified; she was gifted with extraordinary energy. The lace-making business that she established alone, and which she looked after tirelessly to assure her children’s future, made her life very meritorious. When my little brothers and sisters died, her submission to God’s will, despite her deep grief, was so great that people less Christian than herself were almost shocked, to the point of saying that she did not love her children.

It was my parents’ wish that all of us be consecrated to God; they would have liked to give Him priests and missionaries. My mother had been struck by the life of Madame Acarie, and many times I heard her say, “To think that all her daughters became Carmelites! Can a mother have any greater honor?”

Sr. Agnes of Jesus, O.C.D. (Pauline Martin)
Witness 6 for the Apostolic Process

canonization_banner
Canonization banner for Saints Zélie and Louis

View more lace-making patterns from Saint Zélie’s workshop here

Learn more about Saint Louis and Zélie’s life together here

Read Saint Zélie’s letters here

Read letters addressed to Saint Zélie Martin here


The blogger is grateful to all of the members of the Archives team at the Carmel of Lisieux for their tireless efforts to make the treasures of the Martin Family accessible to the public.

 

Quote of the day: 9 April

Monday, 9 April 1888

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

Thérèse enters the Carmel of Lisieux

From Marie Martin (Marie of the Sacred Heart) to her father, Saint Louis Martin 
9th April 1888

Incomparable Father,

What Céline tells us is worthy of you! Ah! What a remarkable father we have! He truly is unique… Also, I’m not surprised that God is taking all the children away from this incomparable father! He is too dear to his Heart for Him not to look upon him and his family with a very special love. How our dear mother must be smiling down upon you, she must be rejoicing to see her darling boat being so well directed by you towards Heaven.

 

Entrée aqua-entree-1
St. Thérèse crosses the threshold of the cloister, a later watercolor | Photo: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux | Visit the Archives site to see the annotated sketch for this watercolor and all of the artworks associated with the life of St. Thérèse, her “Life in Pictures

 

O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints, and if we didn’t follow in the footsteps of your generosity… Ah! How Jesus will have to repay you a hundredfold for the lily barely in bloom, the lily, filled with freshness, that you are offering him today. Oh, your crown in heaven! Darling Father, how radiant and beautiful it will be. Ah! Pray that your diamond may not be too pale beside so many beauties.

I can’t continue any longer, my heart is too full of affection for you and is all yours.

Our Mother couldn’t help crying as she read Céline’s account. Ah! What a remarkable father you are!!

M. of the S. H.

O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints

N.B. — St. Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux on the Feast of the Annunciation, which was deferred to Monday, April 9 in the year 1888 because March 25 was Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. “Our Mother” refers to the prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague. You can read a brief biographical sketch of Mother Marie here; as Sr. Geneviève (Céline) remarked at the end of her life to another younger member of the community, “But we loved her! But you would have loved her! Only…” she continued with an appropriate facial expression “she was feared as a storm is feared when you have no umbrella … “

Read an outstanding essay concerning Thérèse’s entry to the Carmel of Lisieux on April 9, written by St. Thérèse expert Maureen O’Riordan and illustrated with 19th-century photos, published on her blog Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway.

 

The letter from Marie of the Sacred Heart to her father, Saint Louis Martin, all correspondence by family and friends, and other texts and sources concerning St. Thérèse are found on the official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Quote of the day: 6 March

March 6, 1870

I received your last letter, and I promise I’ll put into practice all the good advice you gave me.

I’m even more inclined to constantly blame myself for my little Hélène’s death, but I never for a moment thought it would end like that. I’d seen Pauline and Léonie so gravely ill when they were little and then recover very well, that I was no longer afraid of childhood illnesses. But now it will be completely the opposite, and I’m afraid my fear will go too far as soon as I see the slightest thing.

You tell me to change doctors, but which one should I use? I tried Doctor P for Léonie, seeing that Monsieur D didn’t prescribe anything. He gave me a new prescription every day, and the more the child took his medicines, the worse she got. He had to give up on her. I tried the first doctor again who told me to stop all the medicines because the child was too young and there was nothing to be done, apart from not giving her food that’s too rich. I believe he was right. I also had such contradictory experiences with my second little boy. In the end, I have nothing to blame Doctor D for in my little girl’s illness. My dear friend, I’ll be crying for my little Hélène for the rest of my life!

Troyes_hospital-pharmacy-museum
Apothicairerie de l’Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte (Troyes), présenté au musée de l’apothicairerie | G. Garitan / Wikimedia Commons

Now Léonie has had a problem with her eyes for almost two years. If you know a remedy for this, please let me know. God willing, it will be more effective than those I’ve tried so far! This poor child concerns me because she has an undisciplined character and a limited ability to understand.

As for me, I’m not strong. For two weeks straight, I’ve had a fever. Thursday night I was so sick that I thought I was finished. I thought I had the same illness as my little Hélène.

Louis went to Le Mans on Tuesday to see the children. I’d promised them so long ago that he would come. He didn’t want to travel because of the death of our little darling, but I persuaded him. They would have been too sad. They’ve cried a lot for their little sister.

 

Celine_martin_toddler
Céline Martin | Archives, Carmel de Lisieux

In April I’m going to bring Céline home from the wet nurse. Having her here will comfort us a little because in the summer I won’t have the courage to go anywhere but the cemetery. Besides, I can’t imagine seeing myself on the street without a child by my side. Give me your advice about Céline. She’ll be one year old on April 28. I don’t think it will hurt her to wean her, all the more because the wet nurse makes her eat everything, and she’s doing very well.

I hug all three of you with all my heart.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin
Letter to her brother Isidore – March 6, 1870 (CF 53)

To make the celebration complete

“She will be baptized this Saturday, all we need is you to make the celebration complete. Marie will be her godmother along with a young boy, about her age, as godfather.”

St. Zelie Martin
Letter to Madame Guérin, 3 January 1873

 

 

The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption at Alençon, France is famous as the location of the marriage of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; their nuptials were celebrated in the church on Tuesday, 13 July 1858 at midnight.
 
St. Thérèse was baptized in this same church on Saturday, 4 January 1873, two days after her birth. The 1925 window in the baptistry, designed by executed by the native Alençon stained glass artist Louis Barillet, represents the baptismal rite. On 17 July 1944, the Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption suffered enormously in the Allied bombardment of the city. Miraculously, the Barillet window in the baptistry chapel survived undamaged.
Above the baptismal font hangs St. Thérèse’s baptismal gown, which had been handed down from her sister Léonie. The godfather of whom Saint Zélie writes was Paul-Albert Boul, age 9,  the son of a friend of Saint Louis Martin. Barillet indicated the presence of the godparents Marie Martin and Paul-Albert Boul by the baptismal candle, which they both hold.
 
On the Second Sunday of Advent, 6 December 2009, this church of the Diocese of Séez celebrated the decree of Pope Benedict XVI, issued 6 June 2009, which elevated the historic Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption to the rank of a minor basilica.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption is one of the most famous pilgrimage locations in France and in the Diocese of Séez. To make your own pilgrimage to Alençon, France visit the English language website of the Shrine of Alençon. When you visit the basilica, the baptistry chapel is the first chapel on the left as you enter the church.
 
To view the baptistry window in expanded detail and to see more stained glass windows in the Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption, visit the Flickr basilica photo album of Patrick Berthou
alenÇon - portail assomption de la ste vierge
Notre-Dame of the Assumption over the portal of the basilica in Alençon
THERESE - Happy Birthday pink rose cake
All original graphics on the Elijah’s Breeze blog are created with the Snappa app.
Visit snappa.com to create online graphics in a snap!

The world of St. Thérèse and her family

This is a photo gallery with more than 350 photos, some never before published, to invite you into the world of the Martin family. Accompany them from the birth of Louis and Zélie to today. Carefully curated by expert Maureen O’Riordan, this photo gallery is filled with treasures that every connoisseur of the Martin family will enjoy.

Click here to explore!
Sainte-Famille_1898-sommeil-ej97x130_Celine
“Come with me,” the little angel Thérèse seems to say

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 9

July 12
SAINT LOUIS MARTIN AND ZELIE GUERIN

Optional Memorial

Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux, on August 22, 1823. While he was master-watchmaker in Alençon, he met Marie Azelie (Zelie) Guerin, a lace maker, born in Gandelain (St-Denis-sur-Sarthon), on December 23, 1831. They were married on July 13, 1858,and had nine children, including the future Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus. Model spouses, devoted parents, workers, attentive to the poor, always nourishing a missionary spirit, they found their strength and hope in regular attendance at Holy Mass and in a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin. After a long illness Zelie died in Alençon on August 28, 1877. Louis, in retirement, went to Lisieux near his in-laws to ensure a better future for his five children (the other four having died in infancy). This patriarch of the family, after offering all his children to God, knew suffering and illness. He died near Evreux on July 29, 1894.

From the Common of Holy Men, with the psalms of the day.

Office of Readings

The Second Reading
(Zelie et Louis Martin, Correspondance Familiale [1863 – 1885].  Paris, 2004, L1, 72, 130, 81, 110, 147, 179, 204)

From the Letters of St. Zelie Martin

We must be willing to accept generously the will of the good God

My dear friend, I am really worried about you.  Every day my husband makes sad prophecies. He knows Paris and told me that you will be exposed to temptations that, because you are not pious enough, you will not be able to overcome.  He told me that he experienced them himself, and that he needed a lot of courage to come out victoriously from all the battles. If you only knew what trials he had to go through … I beg you, my dear Isidore (Zelie’s brother), to do as I did; pray, and you will not be carried away by the current.  If you succumb once you will be lost. On the road to perdition as on the road to salvation the first step is all important; afterwards you will be carried away by the current.

When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I really felt the pain.  It is a pain to which I have always been resigned. I do not regret the pains and the anxieties I have had to endure on their account.  Many people have said to me: “It would have been better if you had never had them.” I cannot tolerate these words.  The pains and anxieties of this life cannot be compared to the eternal happiness of my children.  After all, they have not been lost forever, life is short and full of suffering, we shall find them in heaven.

Little Therese is always well and looks very healthy.  She is very intelligent and we have very amusing conversations.  She already knows how to pray to God. Every Sunday, she goes for some part of Vespers and if, by mistake, the family forgets to bring her there she cries uncontrollably.

My sister has spoken to me a great deal about your business… I told her not to break her neck because of this, that there is only one thing to do, pray to God, because neither she, nor I, can help you in any other way.  However, He, who is never embarrassed, will rescue us from all this when He sees that we have suffered enough, and then, you will recognize that your success is not due either to your ability or to your intelligence, but to God alone, as it happens with my lace making; this conviction is very beneficial, I have experienced it myself.  You know that we are all inclined to be proud and I notice often that those who have made their fortune are, for the most part, unbearably self-important. I am not saying that I would have been like this, nor you either, but we would have been somewhat tainted by pride; it is a fact that constant prosperity leads one away from God. He never led his chosen ones along this path, they had to pass first through the crucible of suffering in order to be purified.  You are going to say that I am preaching, but no matter I don’t wish to. I think of these things very often and I share them with you; now, call that a sermon if you like!

My dear children, I must go to Vespers to pray for the intention of our dear deceased relatives.  The day will come when you will do this for me, but I must make sure that I do not have so great a need of your prayers.  I would like to become a saint but this will not be easy; there is a lot of wood to burn but it is as hard as stone. It would have been better if I had begun earlier, when it was less difficult, but anyhow “it is better late than never.”

Today is then Wednesday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception which is a great feast for me!  On this day, the Blessed Virgin truly gave me many very special graces… This year, I will go again to find the Blessed Virgin early in the morning… my only prayer will be that those that she has given me will all be saints and that I shall not be too far behind, but they must be much better than me.

Doctor Notta is very sorry that they did not operate at the beginning, as by now it is too late.  However, he seems to be saying that I can go on for a very long time like this. But more than that we put ourselves in God’s hands, who knows better than us what we need, “it is He who wounds but also heals.”  I will go to Lourdes on the first pilgrimage, and I hope that the Blessed Virgin will heal me, if that is what is needed. Let’s remain calm while we wait.

Before leaving, I will assist at the first Mass here, arriving in Le Mans at nine o’clock, still in time to attend the High Mass, after that I will come for you… At the beginning, your father was not happy that I took all three of you, but he wishes it now, and says that we cannot make enough sacrifices to obtain so great a miracle.  Even if I do not obtain it, I will never regret taking you there. We must be willing to accept generously the will of God, whatever it is, because it will always be what is best for us.

Responsory

R/.  Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.
V/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

Prayer

O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Official-Vatican-Portrait

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 8

although our family is very humble,
we have the honour of being among
our adorable Creator’s chosen ones

READING

I want to tell you, my dear children, that I’m pressed to thank and have you thank God, because I feel that although our family is very humble, we have the honour of being among our adorable Creator’s chosen ones.

From Mr. Martin to his Carmelite daughters – June after 15, 1888

RESPONSORY

R/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER

O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

 

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 7

I could feel she was much stronger than my other children

READING

January 3, 1873

My little girl [Thérèse] was born last night, Thursday, at eleven-thirty. She’s very strong and in very good health. They tell me she weighs eight pounds. Let’s say six, which is still not bad. She seems very sweet.

I’m very happy. However, at first, I was surprised. I was so sure I was having a boy. I’d been imagining this for two months because I could feel she was much stronger than my other children.

I barely suffered a half hour. What I felt before was practically nothing. She’ll be baptized tomorrow, Saturday. The only thing missing to make the celebration complete is all of you. Marie is going to be the godmother, and a little boy close to her age will be the godfather (Paul-Albert Boul, 9 years old; son of a friend of Louis).

I received your letter, as well as the box containing the New Year’s gifts. I don’t know if I should scold you. I want to very much, and yet I also want to thank you, but everything is too beautiful and too expensive. Céline wore her beautiful fur and muff for the first time on the first day of the year.

I wish all of you a happy New Year. Please remember me to Monsieur and Madame Fournet and Monsieur and Madame Maudelonde.

I look forward to sending you a longer letter. I can’t write a long one today.

Marie and Pauline have been on vacation since Tuesday evening. They’ll stay with me until Monday or Tuesday.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 84 – January 3, 1873

RESPONSORY
R/. 
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 6

through my tears,
my heart abounds with joy

READING

April 10, 1888

… Thérèse, my little Queen, entered Carmel yesterday! God alone could demand such a sacrifice, but He’s helping me so powerfully that through my tears, my heart abounds with joy.

One who loves you,

Louis Martin.

From Louis Martin to the Nogrix family – April 10, 1888

RESPONSORY
R/. 
You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 5

True happiness is not of this world.
We waste our time looking for it here.

READING

April 14, 1868

Your last letter made me very happy. I was so eager to hear from you, and I still am because I’d like to know how little Jeanne is doing, as well as all of you.

I see you’ve already had many concerns about your dear little girl. But, my dear sister, you mustn’t worry unnecessarily; children always have a few problems. I’m so used to it with mine that I just accept it.

However, I’ve had plenty of reasons to be anxious over the youngest one, who was very sick three weeks ago. The wet nurse arrived, sobbing, to tell me that there was no hope, that he was sick exactly like his little brother. The fear of seeing him die in her home frightened her so much that she wanted to return him to me. The doctor went there right away and saw he had bronchitis. We took care of him as best we could, and now he’s completely cured.

We went to see him today. He smiled at his father and me as if he knew us. I feel so deprived not having him with us, and I’m longing for the moment when he returns, although I already fear the extra problems his return will bring us because we’re so overworked here. If I had three times less work, I’d still have so much that I’d rarely have a free moment. But it’s such sweet work to take care of little children! If I only had that to do, it seems to me I’d be the happiest of women. But it’s quite necessary that their father and I work to earn money for their dowries. Otherwise, when they’re grown, they won’t be very happy with us!

In my last letter, I forgot to thank you for the beautiful box of candy you sent home to us with my father. He gave us a charming account of little Jeanne’s baptism. He was truly impressed.

Everyone here is in good health, but my poor Léonie took a bad fall and has two very large and deep cuts on her forehead. This is the third time she has cut her forehead, and the marks from the first two times are very noticeable. I’m sorry about that. But on the other hand she has the best nature you could imagine. She and Pauline are charming; little Hélène is very cute as well. Marie has a very special and determined nature. She is the prettiest, but I’d like her to be more obedient. When you write to me, don’t mention what I say to you about this child, other than being so gifted. My husband wouldn’t be happy; she’s his favorite!

I hope to receive news from you soon. Will you tell me if the pharmacy is doing well, if my brother still worries and if he’s sad? I’d like you all to be happy, but true happiness is not of this world. We waste our time looking for it here.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 31 – April 14, 1868

 

RESPONSORY
R/.  Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 3

I press you all to my heart out of love,
and entrust you to your holy mother

READING
Alençon
, 25th November 1877.

Dear girls,

Today, Sunday, is the day when I am the least busy, I am hurrying to address a few words to you.

I’m looking forward to joining you and I’m hurrying the workers to finish the Alençon lace that several of them are still assembling. I therefore hope that on Thursday we will have the pleasure of being reunited and not parting company immediately.

Dear Marie, tell “petit Paulin” that her gold shells (which she used for her miniature models) won’t arrive before next Tuesday, I asked for three of them instead of two. As for your pins, I think they will be easier to find in Lisieux. The moss you mentioned can’t be found in this season, but we will try to have some later on.

Children, pay attention to all your uncle and kind aunt’s instructions; you are aware of the great sacrifices I had to make to secure you their help and good advice, therefore don’t miss a single opportunity to take advantage of it.

You, Marie, my eldest, my first, you know how much I love you; well, continue to devote yourself more and more to your sisters, take care that when seeing you, they may have before their eyes a good model to imitate.

Tell Léonie that if she continues being an absolutely good girl, I will certainly give her something that she will like on New Year’s Day.

A Dieu, my dear children, I press you all to my heart out of love, and entrust you to your holy mother.

From Louis Martin to his five daughters Marie/ Pauline/ Léonie/ Céline/ Thérèse in Lisieux

RESPONSORY
R/. 
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 2

What a holy man my husband is.
I wish the same for all women…

READING
Alençon
,  January 1, 1863

My dear brother,

I wish you a happy New Year and desire with all my heart that you do well in your studies. I’m sure you’ll succeed if you want to, this depends only on you. 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.

My dear friend, I’m very concerned about you [since December 10 or 15, 1862, Isidore was enrolled in the School of Pharmacy in Paris]. Every day my husband makes sad predictions. He knows Paris, and he tells me that you’ll be up against temptations that you’ll find hard to resist because you’re not religious enough. He told me what temptations he had and the courage he needed to overcome his struggles. If you only knew what ordeals he went through…. I beg you, my dear Isidore, do as he did; pray, and you will not let yourself be carried away by the torrent. If you give in once, you’re lost. On the path of evil as well as that of goodness, the first step is the hardest, and, after that first step, you’ll be swept away by the current.

If you want to give me a New Year’s gift and would agree to this one request I’m asking of you, I’d be happier than if you sent me all of Paris. Here it is: you live very close to Notre-Dame des Victoires. Well! Go there just once a day and say a Hail Mary to the Blessed Mother. You’ll see that she’ll protect you in a very special way, and that she’ll help you succeed in this world and give you eternal happiness. What I’m saying to you is not exaggerated piety and unfounded on my part. I have reason to have trust in the Blessed Mother, I’ve received favors from her that only I know.

You well know that life is not long. You and I will soon be at the end, and we’ll be very grateful that we lived in a manner that doesn’t make our last hour too bitter.

Now, if you have an unkind heart, you’ll laugh at me, but if you’re kindhearted, you’ll say I’m right.

When you write to me, don’t mention what I said regarding Louis’ thoughts about your situation because he wouldn’t like it. I’m always so happy with him, he makes my life very pleasant. What a holy man my husband is. I wish the same for all women; that’s my wish for them for the New Year…

From Madame Martin to her brother Isidore Guérin

RESPONSORY
R/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
      what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

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