Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us!

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Bienheureux Monsieur et Madame

This morning, for the first time in the history of the Church: a married couple, the parents of a daughter who is a saint and a Doctor of the Church, were beatified in Lisieux, France. 15000 faithful attended the celebration. Louis and Zélie Martin were not beatified because of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. They were beatified in recognition of the virtue and holiness displayed, by the grace of Christ, in their own life. Two months before her death, Saint Thérèse wrote to the Abbé Bellière: "God gave me a father and a mother more worthy of heaven than of earth; they asked the Lord to give them many children and to let them all be consecrated to Him." (July 26th, 1897).

The Challenges of Life

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The Martins had nine children, four of whom died in infancy. Of their five daughters, one of them -- Léonie -- was a very difficult child, furrowed by the emotional complexities that would follow her even into adulthood.

Louis, a watch and clock maker and Zélie, an expert artisan of lace, operated their own businesses. They were familiar with the challenges inherent in dealing justly and patiently with employees and with customers. In the Martin household the needs of the poor were never forgotten.


Both Louis and Zélie were stricken by disease. Zélie died of breast cancer on August 28, 1877. Louis, a widower with five dependent children, was afflicted with a humiliating brain disease and confined in a psychiatric hospital. During occasional periods of remission, he devoted himself to his fellow patients. He died at home in 1894 at the age of 71.


Les Bienheureux Monsieur et Madame Martin prove to married couples that a great holiness is possible, even in the midst of a family life marked by difficulties and sorrows.


Glory to God in His two new Blessed !
Most humbly we adore You !

Sounds like holiness can run in the family.

Dear Father Mark,

Thank you for your thoughtful post about Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin. I had the joy of being present for their beatification, a profoundly moving experience. To see films and photos of the day and to read an English translation of the homily, please visit Thank you.


Maureen O'Riordan

For more about Blessed Zelie and Louis and for films and photos of their beatification, please see

Contrary to your affirmation Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin were not the first couple beatified by the Roman Catholic Church but rather Luigi et Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001. Whether first or second, both couples are exemplary with their children devoted to God.

Dear Danilo,

Yes, as you say, the Italian couple were the first to be beatified as a couple. Louis and Zelie Martin, whose cause was introduced earlier, were the first spouses in the history of the Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple, so that has, perhaps, led to some confusion. I hope both will be followed by many more saintly couples recognized as such by the Church.

Dear Father Mark,

This is to let you know that, just in time for their 2011 feast, Blessed Louis and Zelie have brought us a great gift: the first English translation of the definitive edition of their letters (published in French in 2004) has just appeared. For more information and to order "A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, 1863-1885," please visit Thank you.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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