Louis Joseph Aloys Stanislaus Martin

Early Life

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, 1870)
• 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 in 1925.

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.