"Zélie" Martin née Guérin
(23 December 1831 - 28 August 1877)
A French Laywoman and the Mother of Saint Thérèse
Her Husband was Blessed Louis Martin
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.
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.
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
* Pauline (September 7, 1861 - July 28, 1951), as a nun, Mother
Agnès of Jesus, Carmelite at Lisieux.
* Léonie (June 3, 1863 - June 16, 1941), as a nun, Sister
Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine at Caen.
* Céline (April 28, 1869 - 25 February 1959), as a nun,
Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, Carmelite at Lisieux.
* Thérèse (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
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