Louis Joseph Aloys
Louis Joseph Aloys Stanislaus Martin
was the third of five children of Pierre-François Martin
and Marie-Anne-Fanie Boureau. Several of his siblings died young.
Although Louis intended to become
a monk, wishing to enter the Augustinian Monastery of the Great
St. Bernard, due to his lack of knowledge of Latin, he was rejected,
and decided to become a watchmaker.
Marriage and Family
He later fell in love with Marie-Azélie
Guérin, a lacemaker, in 1858, and they married just three
months later. Her business was so successful that Louis sold his
watchmaking business to go into partnership with her.
"Alongside this strong, tender,
but undeniably domineering woman Louis Martin seems to have been
made of much softer stuff. He was a dreamer and brooder, an idealist
and romantic. He loved nature with a deep sentimental enthusiasm.
From him Thérèse inherited her passion for flowers
and meadows, for her native landscape, for clouds, thunderstorms
, the sea and the stars. There was too..wanderlust...He made pilgrimages
to Chartres and Lourdes, went to Germany and Austria, traveled twice
to Rome and even to Constantinople, and planned but did not live
to carry out a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. " Along with this
desire for adventure was an impulse towards withdrawal; in Lisieux
he arranged a little den for himself high up in the attic, a true
monastic cell for praying, reading and meditation. Even his daughters
were allowed to enter it only if they wished spiritual converse
and self-examination. As in a monastery, he divided the day into
worship, garden work and relaxation.
Although the couple lived as brother
and sister for ten months after their wedding, they decided to have
children. They would later have nine children, though only five
daughters would survive infancy:
Marie-Louise (22 February 1860 - 19 January 1940), a nun,
Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, Carmelite at Lisieux.
Marie-Pauline (September 7, 1861 - July 28, 1951), a nun,
Mother Agnès of Jesus, Carmelite at Lisieux.
Marie-Léonie (June 3, 1863 - June 16, 1941), a nun,
Sister Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine at Caen.
Marie-Hélène (October 3, 1864 - February 22,
Marie-Joseph (September 20, 1866 - February 14, 1867)
Marie Jean-Baptiste (December 19, 1867 - August 24, 1868)
Marie-Céline (April 28, 1869 - 25 February 1959),
a nun, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, Carmelite at Lisieux.
Marie-Mélanie Thérèse (August 16, 1870
- October 8, 1870)
Marie-Françoise-Thérèse (January 2,
1873 - September 30, 1897), a nun, Sister Thérèse
of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Carmelite at Lisieux, canonized
As a jeweler and watchmaker he loved
the precious things with which he dealt. To his daughters he gave
touching and naïve pet names. Marie was his diamond, Pauline
his noble pearl, Céline the bold one, and the guardian angel
- Thérèse, was his little queen, petite reine, to
whom all treasures belonged.
On August 28, 1877, Zélie died
from breast cancer in Alençon, Orne. Louis sold her lacemaking
business and moved to Lisieux, in Normandy, where Zélie's
brother Isidore Guérin, a pharmacist, lived with his wife
and two daughters.
In 1889 Louis suffered two paralyzing
strokes followed by cerebral arteriosclerosis, and was hospitalized
for three years at the Bon Sauveur asylum in Caen. In 1892 he returned
to Lisieux, where his daughters Céline and Léonie
looked after him devotedly until his death on July 29, 1894 at the
chateau La Musse near Évreux.
Louis and Marie-Azélie Martin
were declared "venerable" on March 26, 1994 by Pope John
Paul II. They were beatified on October 19, 2008 by Jose Cardinal
Saraiva Martins, the legate of Pope Benedict XVI in the Basilique
de Sainte-Thérèse, Lisieux. The faithful are now invited
to pray for a miracle attributed to their joint and sole intercession.
After such a miracle is deemed credible by officials at the Congregation
for Causes of Saints in the Vatican, they can be counted among the
saints of God.