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Azélie-Marie "Zélie" Guérin Martin
Birth: Dec. 23, 1831
Departement de l'Orne
Basse-Normandie, France
Death: Aug. 28, 1877
Departement de l'Orne
Basse-Normandie, France

Blessed Azélie-Marie (Guérin) Martin

Marie-Azélie Guérin was born on December 23, 1831 in Gandelain, France within St-Denis-sur-Sarthon Parish near Alençon; she was baptised on Christmas Eve. Her father had retired from the army and was a member of the local police force. Her mother had given birth to her first child, Marie Louise, two years previously and the family was completed with the birth of a son, Isidore, ten years later.

Zélie's mother was a good woman with a strong faith but she was very austere in her treatment of her daughters. Although she cared for them she did not show them affection and they were never allowed to have dolls. Her father was strict too but he showed them more kindness; indeed he sold his house and land in the country in order to send them to school.

The family moved to Alençon when Zélie was 13 and together with her sister, she attended the school run by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. She was both intelligent and religious; she held first place for style and composition in her French essays. She was very close to her sister, but her childhood was not happy. She was later to write that her youth was "as sad as a winding-sheet." After the move to Alençon her mother ran a café for a short time and her father tried his hand at woodwork. Later Isidore, who was a bright child, was sent to the Lycée. In adult life after studying medicine in Paris he became a pharmacist at Lisieux. Zélie suffered severe headaches in her childhood as well as respiratory problems, and it was probably on account of her poor health that the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul would not accept her as a postulant when she applied to join them.

Her sister entered the Visitation Convent at Le Mans at the age of 29, and became Sister Marie-Dosithée Guérin.

Zélie had decided that if God did not want her as a religious she would marry and have many children who would all be consecrated to Him. She turned to Our Lady and asked her how she should earn her dowry. On December 8, 1851 she received her answer in the form of an interior voice which said, "Make Alencon point lace". Zélie went to a professional school to learn her craft; she quickly excelled and left to start her own business.

One day when she was crossing the Bridge of St Leonard, Zélie noticed a man passing by and again heard that interior voice. It said, "This is he whom I have prepared for you." The man was Louis Martin, whose mother had noticed Zélie at the lace making school. On July 13, 1858 Zélie and Louis were married; she was nearly 27.

Zélie and Louis had 9 children, 4 died in their infancy, and 5 became contemplative nuns (4 Carmelites and 1 Visitandine). Zélie had decided to give all their children the name Marie in honour of Our Lady

In October 1876 the swelling in Zélie's breast increased and she consulted a doctor. "A fibrous tumour" he said and advised an operation. "And what chance of success, 1%?" asked Zélie. The doctor shrugged and began to write a prescription. Zélie smiled and said, "What would be the use of remedies?" "None," replied the doctor, "it is in order to please the sick people, that is all". Zélie left him without anything. She knew there was no hope from medicine.

After recieving the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, on Tuesday, August 28, 1877, at 12:30am, Zélie died with her husband and her brother beside her. The three older girls were there, but they did not waken the two younger ones. Two days later, Zélie was buried with the four little ones. It was not until 1894 when Louis died that Isidore Guérin had the family grave moved to Lisieux.

In 1994, Zélie and her husband were both declared venerable by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI approved the beatification of Louis and Marie Zélie (Guerin) Martin, the parents of St Thérèse of the Infant Jesus, and on October 19, 2008, they both were declared blessed in Lisieux, France, by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, retired prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. It was only the second time in history that a married couple has been beatified. 
Family links: 
  Isidore Guérin (1789 - 1868)
  Louis Joseph-Aloys-Stanislaus Martin (1823 - 1894)
  Marie du Sacré-Cœur Martin (1860 - 1940)*
  Agnès de Jésus Martin (1861 - 1951)*
  Françoise-Thérèse Martin (1863 - 1941)*
  Marie-Hélène Martin (1864 - 1870)*
  Marie-Joseph Louis Martin (1866 - 1867)*
  Marie-Joseph Jean-Baptiste Martin (1867 - 1868)*
  Geneviève de la Sainte-Face Martin (1869 - 1959)*
  Marie-Melanie Thérèse Martin (1870 - 1870)*
  Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 - 1897)*
*Calculated relationship
Basilica of St Thérèse of Lisieux
Departement du Calvados
Basse-Normandie, France
Plot: Crypt
Created by: Mémoriaux Atlantique
Record added: May 03, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51933335
Azélie-Marie Zélie <i>Guérin</i> Martin
Added by: Mémoriaux Atlantique
Azélie-Marie Zélie <i>Guérin</i> Martin
Added by: Mémoriaux Atlantique
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 Added: Oct. 11, 2014

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