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Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin

Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin by Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS

Artist Narrative:

The Canonization of Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (St. Thérèse of Lisieux) took place on Sunday October 18, 2015 in Rome.

The Canonization took place during the Holy Mass celebrated on the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time by His Holiness Pope Francis, in St. Peter's Square, Rome. In his homily on the day's biblical readings - which presented the theme of service - Pope Francis said “The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin practiced Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters, among whom was Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”

The Canonization date coincided with the anniversary of the Beatification of Louis and Zélie in 2008 and the Proclamation of St. Thérèse as a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

Their feast day is July 12.

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When Louis Martin and his bride, Zelie, were married in 1858, they promised that they would “serve God first” together. They knew that putting God first in their lives would help them always to live with love.

 

Louis was a watchmaker. Zelie made beautiful lace to help support their growing family. They taught their children to know, love and serve God. The Catholic Church was an important part of their family life.

 

Like all married couples, they sometimes faced disappointments and sadness; four of their nine children died at a young age. They turned to God in difficult times and grew more deeply in love as they shared their sorrows and joys with one another.

 

In 1877, when Thérèse, the Martins youngest daughter, was only four years old, Zelie became very ill and died. The family was brokenhearted, but they remembered that Zelie prayed with them to help them understand that her illness and death were part of God’s plan.

 

Louis lovingly raised his daughters. He generously gave his permission as each one asked to join the convent. He saw this as a sign that God was pleased that he and Zelie had shared their faith and love with their children.

 

Zelie and Louis Martin’s lives show us that when we live with love, we grow in holiness. The Martins are such a wonderful example of holiness that Pope Benedict named them “Blessed” in 2008 and Pope Francis officially recognized them both as saints. They are the first married couple ever to be canonized together.

 

Beatified: October 19, 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI

 

Canonized: October 18, 2015 by Pope Francis