Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the family of St. Therese of Lisieux

For the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel I share with you a photograph of the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel which was in St. Jacques Church in Lisieux when the Martin family lived there. 


St. Jacques was the parish in which their home, Les Buissonets, was located.  Father Delatroette, who was the ecclesiastical superior of the Lisieux Carmel and opposed Therese's entrance, thinking her too young, was a priest of St. Jacques and, for a time, was Leonie's confessor.  

But when Louis Martin and his five daughters moved to Lisieux in 1877, it was impossible to "rent" seats for six at St. Jacques.  So on Sundays the Martins attended the Cathedral of St. Pierre, where Louis's brother-in-law, Isidore Guerin, was one of the churchwardens.  But the family often participated in weekday Mass at St. Jacques.

It was before this statue in St. Jacques Church that Pauline Martin, Therese's sister, then twenty years old, was praying on February 16, 1882 when she suddenly understood that she was called to become a Carmelite.  Before that she had been thinking of the Visitation, where she had been educated.

St. Jacques Church was substantially destroyed when Lisieux was bombed in 1944, but this statue was recovered.  Although the church was restored after the war, it is no longer used as a church, but serves the town of Lisieux as a municipal exhibit hall, where, in the summer, an exhibit about the Martin family is usually held.  This statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel can be seen today at St. Pierre's Cathedral.  I thank the photographer, Corinne May, for permission to display her photograph here.

For the reference, see Therese et Lisieux by Pierre Descouvement and Helmut-Nils Loose. Editions du Cerf, 1991, p. 49.