|Birth: ||Aug. 22, 1823|
Departement de la Gironde
|Death: ||Jul. 29, 1894|
Departement de l'Eure
Blessed Louis-Joseph-Aloys-Stanislaus Martin
Louis Martin was born on August 22, 1823 in Bordeaux, France. Louis' only brother, Pierre, was four years older. He died at sea while still young; his sister, Marie, who was three years older, died when she was only twenty-six. Louis was baptised privately straight after birth but the full ceremonies at the Church of St Eulalie were not completed until October after his father, an Army Captain, returned from a Spanish campaign. He was given the names Louis Joseph Aloys Stanislaus. The Archbishop of Bordeaux who happened to be in the Church at the time of the baptism went over to bless the baby and said to the parents, "Congratulations! That child is a predestined one." When Captain Martin retired in December 1830, he his family to Alençon, where he knew he could educate his children. Louis seems to have had a particularly good grounding in French literature; he could quote with ease from the classics, and copied a collection of his own favourite quotations. He was also good at drawing.
In 1842, Louis began to learn watchmaking. He made a few retreats at the Augustinian Monastery of the Great St Bernard, high on the Swiss Alps. He returned to the Augustinian community in the Swiss Alps, but this time it was to seek admission to the community. The Prior told him that without any knowledge of Latin he could not be accepted, but he encouraged him to return when he had completed his Latin studies. Louis, convinced of his vocation, was not discouraged. He returned to his family in Alençon and began to study Latin straight away. He persevered for over a year, but when illness made it necessary for him to give up for a while he never returned to it. Without doubt, he understood that God had other plans for him and he resumed his apprenticeship, this time in Paris. Louis returned to Alençon, a master watchmaker, and in November 1850 established his shop in the Parish of St Pierre de Monsort. The house was large so Louis had his parents to live with him. He worked hard at his watchmaking and later added a jeweler's shop. When he was thirty-five, only three months after their first meeting, Louis married Marie-Azélie Guérin, on July 13, 1858. They lived behind his shop, and as the house was so large his parents were able to remain there, living quite separately on the floor above. Louis was delighted when his first daughter, Marie Louise, was born on February 22, 1860. When he took her to St Pierre de Monsort to be baptized, he remarked to the priest, "This is the first time you have seen me here for a baptism, but it won't be the last!"
Early in their marriage, Zélie asked Louis to bring the statue of Our Lady from their pavilion garden into the home and it became the center of family devotions. It was this statue that years later smiled on St Thérèse when she was ill and has since become known as "Our Lady of the Smile." In the following thirteen years eight more children followed Marie Louise; Louis rejoiced at each birth and sorrowed when three of them died as small babies, but his greatest sadness in those years was the death of five year old Hélène on February 22, 1870. He was heart-broken and even years later often lamented her early death. That same year, in April, Louis sold his business to his nephew, Adolphe Leriche, and in July 1871 the family moved to Zélie's old home. Louis' mother continued to live above the shop, happy that her grandson now occupied the other apartment. Louis had always done all he could to help Zélie with her lacemaking business but after he gave up his watchmaking he was able to devote even more of his time to this.
By January 1873, Louis' family was complete, with the birth of Marie Thérèse. He loved to spend time with his five daughters and he delighted them with the toys he made. He was firm with them too, expecting obedience, and they respected his wishes out of love. He amused them by imitating bugles and drums, dialects and bird calls. He had pet names for each of them; Marie Louise "My Diamond", Marie Pauline "My Pearl", Marie Léonie "My Good-Hearted One", Marie Céline "My Dauntless One", and Marie Thérèse "My Little Queen."
At the end of 1876, Louis realised that his wife was fatally ill with cancer and he became inconsolable. He gave up his fishing for a time and would not leave her. On August 28, 1877, Zélie died and the following day Louis took his little St Thérèse to kiss her mother for the last time. As he was with five daughters ranging in age from 4 to 17, Louis fulfilled his wife's wishes and less than three months after her death the family went to live at Les Buissonnets in Lisieux, to be near Zélie's brother, Isidore Guérin, and his wife Céline. In Lisieux, an ordered family life was soon established. Louis always insisted on punctuality and good manners, facts respected by his daughters. Soon Louis returned to his fishing and he often gave his catch to the Carmelite nuns. Louis turned his attic into his study and it was known as the Belvedere. He still enjoyed reading and also passed much time there in meditation and prayer. He spent each evening with his daughters. He often played draughts with them. Usually one of them read aloud from ‘The Liturgical Year' or some other carefully chosen book. Céline and Thérèse often sat on his knee and he told them stories and sang to them. The evening always ended with family prayer and Thérèse said that she only had to watch her father to know how the saints pray.
One by one, each of his daughter entered the cloister. He was sorry to lose a daughter from the family circle, which meant so much to him, but he was happy that the prayers he had made with Zélie that each child would be consecrated to God were being fulfilled. Thérèse very ill and Louis, desperate to save the life of his youngest child, had Marie and her other sisters kneel at her sister's bedside and prayed before the statue of Our Lady of the Smile asking for her intercession in curing her sister. It was during that prayer that the statue of Our Lady smiled on Thérèse and she was cured. This miraculous cure took place on May 13, 1883. With Thérèse's recovery, normal family life resumed. Shortly after Thérèse entered Carmel, Louis started to become ill and suffered a stroke. On February 12, 1889 Louis was admitted to the Bon Sauveur at Caen. In the hospital, he had a considerable amount of freedom and he received loving care from the sisters who appreciated his co-operation and gentle manner. He spent much of his time in the Chapel and was able to receive Holy Communion daily, when he was well enough. He shared everything which was given to him with the other patients and he never complained although he suffered at being separated from his family. He once remarked to a doctor, "I was always accustomed to command, and here I must obey. It is hard! But I know why God has sent me this trial. I never had any humiliation in my life; I needed one."
By 1892, Louis had suffered further strokes which had paralysed his legs, so there was no longer any fear that he would wander away. Léonie and Céline pleaded with their uncle to let him return and he agreed. On May 12, Louis was taken to visit his Carmelite daughters and this was the last time he saw them. After Marie Léonie entered the Visitation Convent at Caen, Céline alone remained with her father until his death, but she was greatly supported by the Guérin family. During the Summer of 1894, Louis and Marie Céline, both went with the Guérins to their summer house in La Musse, Arnières-sur-Iton, Eure, Haute-Normandie. After a few heart attacks, Louis received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. On Sunday, July 29, 1894, 8:15am he passed away a very peaceful death. Louis' body was taken back to Lisieux where he was buried on August 2 after a Requiem Mass in the Cathedral. Céline had written to her sisters in Carmel "Papa is in Heaven". Isidore Guérin had the family graves of Zélie and their 4 deceased children, moved from Alençon to Lisieux.
In 1994, Louis and his wife were both declared venerable by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI approved the beatification of Louis and Marie Zélie (Guérin) 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.
Pierre François Martin (1777 - 1865)
Marie-Anne Fanie Boureau Martin (1800 - 1883)
Azélie-Marie Guérin Martin (1831 - 1877)*
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)*
Basilica of St Thérèse of Lisieux
Departement du Calvados
Created by: Mid-Atlantic Memorials
Record added: May 04, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51983048