Blessed Marie-Azélie "Zélie" Martin née Guérin
(23 December 1831 - 28 August 1877)
A French Laywoman and the Mother of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux
Her Husband was Blessed Louis Martin

Early Life

Marie-Azélie Guérin was born in Saint-Denis-sur-Sarthon, Orne, France and was the second daughter of Isidore Guérin and Louise-Jeanne Macé. She had an older sister Marie-Louise, who became a Visitandine nun, and a younger brother, Isidore, who was a pharmacist.

Zélie wanted to become a nun but was turned away by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul due to respiratory difficulties and recurrent headaches. Zélie then prayed for God to give her children and that they would be consecrated to God.

Later, she decided to become a lacemaker, making Point d'Alençon lace. She later fell in love with a watchmaker, Louis Martin, in 1858 and married only three months later.

Marriage and Family

Although Zélie and Louis had led a celibate marriage for almost a year, they had decided to have children. They would have nine children, though only five daughters would survive infancy; all became nuns.

* Marie (22 February 1860 - 19 January 1940), as a nun, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, Carmelite at Lisieux.
* Pauline (September 7, 1861 - July 28, 1951), as a nun, Mother Agnès of Jesus, Carmelite at Lisieux.
* Léonie[1] (June 3, 1863 - June 16, 1941), as a nun, Sister Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine at Caen.
* Céline[2] (April 28, 1869 - 25 February 1959), as a nun, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, Carmelite at Lisieux.
* Thérèse[2] (January 2, 1873 - September 30, 1897), as a nun, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Carmelite at Lisieux, canonized in 1925.

After Zélie's death, Pauline, Marie, Thérèse and Céline all became Carmelite nuns one after another along with a cousin, Marie Guérin. Léonie became a Visitandine nun after being rejected by the Poor Clares.

Her Death

Marie-Azélie died of breast cancer on August 28, 1877 in Alençon, Orne, aged 45. She was survived by her husband and daughters.


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 Basilique de Sainte-Thérèse, Lisieux, France©2015