Louis and Zelie Martin

0000july1CQLouis and Zélie Martin are the parents of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. The first parents of a saint to be beatified, they are the first spouses in the history of the Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple and the second to be beatified together. Zélie and Louis are an inspiration to the families of today. Zélie was born in 1831 in a small town in France. Her family were devout Catholics and her father was in the army and a policeman. Zélie wanted to be a nun but she had delicate health and was rejected by many convents. She came to realize that God wanted her to be a mother and raise a strong Catholic family. She went to school and learned to make beautiful lace, and opened her own little shop. One day, she met Louis walking on a bridge and after getting to know each other, they were married. They had nine children together. Louis was born in 1823 near Normandy, France. He grew up in a Catholic family. He studied to be a watchmaker and tried to enter a monastery, where he was rejected due to his own health. He opened a successful watch and jewelry shop. He was quite generous with the poor and lived a good life. When he was 35 years old, he met Zélie Martin and they were married later that year. Together, they continued the jewelry shop and lace shop while raising a large family. They found time to pray and taught their children to love God. They were frequently seen together at daily Mass . Four of their children died from different sicknesses. In 1876, Zélie became terminally ill with breast cancer. Louis took her and 3 of their children to Lourdes to pray for a cure, but Zélie died later that year when Therese was only 4 years old, leaving Louis a single parent with five daughters to raise. He continued on with great faith, raising his daughters. St Therese would say that when she saw her father pray with them every night, she knew how the saints prayed. They moved near a convent, where Louis would often bring food and fish he caught to the nuns. Soon one by one, his daughters asked if they could join the Carmelite nuns. He let them go, even Therese who was so young. Zélie and Louis were beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 and canonized by Pope Francis in 2015. Zélie and Louis were not declared saints because of Thérèse, but she became a saint because of them. They created an environment that invited her to holiness, and she responded freely to the invitation they offered her.