When Louis Joseph Aloys Stanislaus Martin married Azelie-Marie Guerin in 1858 in Alencon, France, family and friends would probably not have been surprised to learn that both would someday become canonized saints. Both husband and wife were devout in the practice of their Catholic faith and had seriously considered religious life. According to some sources, Louis was rejected by a monastery because of his inability to learn ecclesiastical Latin, and Zelie (as everyone called her) was turned down by a convent because of her persistent headaches and other medical problems. After being turned away from religious vocations, both supported themselves and became successful in their careers for a time—Zelie as a lacemaker and Louis as a watchmaker—until they happened to meet one day on a bridge. Three months later, they married.
But initially they were such a pious couple, so intent on holiness, that they intended to live their married lives as brother and sister. Fortunately for us, the desire for children and an encouraging priest led them to change their minds. During their marriage, God blessed them with nine children, whom they raised in a devout, middle class home. Louis gave his children loving nicknames; Zelie wrote to her sister about how much she adored her children and loved being a mother. In the end, all five of their surviving daughters entered religious life, and one of them is currently a candidate for sainthood. Their youngest daughter, Marie Francoise-Therese, has already been known as Saint Therese of Lisieux since her canonization in 1925.
Louis and Zelie Martin deserve to be known as Saints Louis and Zelie, independent of the holiness of their daughter. They taught their children to trust in God and love Him—in the sorrows as well as the joys of family life.
Saint Therese, help me to lead the members of my family to greater trust in God.