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The story of a family: Louis and Zélia Martin and their five daughters

The couple of Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin and their family: a simple but not ordinary story

The Martin family—a beacon of faith and love—consisted of Zélie and Louis Martin, parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Their journey serves as a testament to the possibility of holiness within the context of family life. Zélie Guérins, was born on December 23, 1831 in Gandelain, commune of Saint-Denis sur Sarthon in Orne and in her youth, contemplated a life of consecration. However, when she met Luigi, fell in love, and embraced the vocation of marriage. Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux in 1823 and his desire was to consecrate oneself to God but his difficulty in mastering Latin, forced him to give up this project. He then opened a watchmaking-jewelry in 1850 rue du Pont Neuf, in Alençon(France)

They met first in the beginning of 1853 and then married a few months later on July 13, 1853. Together, they welcomed nine children into their home, but four of them died in infancy.

Their marriage lasted only 19 years until Zélie died of breast cancer at the age of 46, on 1877. After her passing, Luigi decided – on the instructions of Zélie – to live in Lisieux with the Guérins, his in-laws and devotedly raised their daughters: Maria, Pauline, Léonie, Céline, and Thérèse, all who entered religious life, becoming Carmelite nuns.

On March 26, 1994, Pope John Paul II proclaimed the heroic virtues of Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin and declared them Venerable. On June 27, 2015, during the public Consistory, Pope Francis announced the date of the canonization of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, which took place on Sunday October 18, 2015 in Rome.

Their last daughter Thérèse, known as “The Little Flower of Jesus,” at fifteen entered the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux, where she died, in the odor of sanctity, on September 30th, 1897, at the age of 24. Well known throughout the world as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, is recognized for many titles: Universal Patron of Missions, Secondary Patron of France, Doctor of the Church, etc.

A year after her death, appeared a book composed from her writings: “The Story of a soul “who made known this young sister, who had loved Jesus to the point of “dying of love”.

Since her death countless graces have been attributed to her intercession. Pope Benedict XV, in 1921 opened the way for the process of her beatification and she was declared Blessed by Pope Pius XI on April 29, 1923, and canonized on May 17, 1925.



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