Sts. Louis (1823-1894) and Zélie (1831-1877) Martin
Together, a saintly couple. Both Louis and Zélie were born to military families. By trade, Louis was a watchmaker and Zélie was a lace-maker. Both had attempted to enter religious life, but were not accepted. They met in Zélie’s hometown of Alencon, and were married at midnight on July 13, 1858. Nine children were born to this couple. However, there was a three-year span where they experienced the death of four of their children. When their youngest child (St. Therese) was born, they thought she too would die from her poor health, but she recovered. Within their home, they truly lived as the domestic church. They brought up their children in the practices of faith, virtue, and devotion (no small undertaking given the secularization of France at the time). Zélie developed breast cancer, and she died from it at the age of forty five. Louis was left with five daughters to raise, so they moved to Lisieux to be closer to family. While still living, Louis had permitted four of his daughters to enter the convent (and the fifth did after his death), surrendering all he held dear in the world. Paralyzing strokes and dementia were to cause him much suffering in the last six years of his life, till his peaceful death at age seventy.
God of eternal love, you give us Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse, as an example of holiness in marriage. In all the duties and trials of life, they remained faithful to you and to your commandments. They desired to raise their children to become saints. May their prayers and example help Christian family life to blossom in our world today.