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Three Gifts That Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin Gave Their Children

Monsignor Figueiredo cited several saints whose lives exemplify the life of faith to which we are called.

St. John Paul II grew up with the example of strong faith. He would often wake in the night to find his father on his knees in prayer. That, he said, was his first seminary.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux also saw firsthand the faith of her parents, who were incredibly prayerful and charitable. Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, Thérèse’s parents, are the only married couple to be canonized in the history of the Church. Both had hoped to enter religious life, but they were rejected by a convent and a monastery. Later, they met on a bridge in their hometown, and eventually decided to marry. They were married in July 18 at midnight, as was the custom of the time, and for the first nine months of their marriage, they lived simply, as brother and sister. When their parish priest learned of this, he told them that they should fully live their married life together. The Martins did as he instructed, and they had nine children in all: four who died in childhood; and five daughters, all of whom entered the convent.

The Martins, Msgr. Figueiredo said, gave their children three gifts:

1.The parents really loved each other. They were an enormous witness to all the girls, but particularly to Thérèse. Her “little way” was based on her parents’ love for one another.

2.The gift of faith. In her family, Thérèse learned a powerful prayer life. The Martins imparted the faith to their children.

3.The gift of charity. The Martins were charitable people, committed to helping others. Thérèse and her siblings saw that – and were influenced so greatly that each chose to enter the convent.

—from the online article Vatican Official Warns: The Family Is Under Attack


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