Louis Martin is found at Le Havre, June 27, 1888 (125 years ago with St. Therese)

Photograph of Louis Martin at age 65

From June 23-27, 1888 (125 years ago), a great anxiety came to the family of Blessed Louis Martin.    Louis, whose health had begun to decline, suddenly disappeared from his family home, Les Buissonnets, on Saturday morning, June 23.  His daughters Leonie and Celine, with the maid, searched everywhere for him.  In town, at the pharmacy belonging to his brother-in-law, Isidore Guerin, he had not been seen.  An anxious night followed; Louis was still missing.  On Sunday, June 24, a letter arrived from him (probably addressed to the Guerins, but now lost), sent from the Post Office at Le Havre, asking for some money.  His three daughters in Carmel were finally told of his disappearance, and began to pray fervently.  On Monday the "intrepid Celine" set off for Le Havre, together with her uncle, Isidore Guerin, and his nephew, Ernest Maudelonde.  They planned to search for Louis, but they had no address for him.

 Except for the maid, Leonie was alone at home when, at five o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, June 26, the small house of a neighbor, very close to Les Buissonnets, burned down.  Le Normand, June 26, 1888: 

This morning (Tuesday), shortly before five o'clock, a fire broke out in Lisieux, chemin des Bissonnets [sic], in a little house rented by a M. Prevost, who had left the previous night for Saint-Martin-de-Mailloc after having shut his door; the house, belonging to Madame d'Angot, rue du Bec, was destroyed, as well as the greater part of the furniture. . . . Under the direction of Captain Lepage, two pumps were put in action and extinguished the fire; the first from the hydrant at the City Hall, brought into action by Corporal Lemineux, was able to preserve the house occupied by M. Martin and his family; a piece of wood in the roof was beginning to burn." 

entrancelesbuissonnets.jpg

In July M. Martin bought the burnt property in order ot enlarge Les Buissonnets.  Its site today is occupied by the stairs and the embankment.

Read the letter Mme. Guerin, Louis's sister-in-law, sent later that day to his three Carmelite daughters.  At that time Louis had not yet been found. If you read French, you can also read Mme. Guerin's letter to her husband at Le Havre that same day.

Finally, on Wednesday, June 27, Celine, Isidore, and Ernest found Louis at the Post Office at Le Havre. Although he was lucid, he had become fixated on idea of going away to live in solitude.  They brought him home safe and sound, although he had shaved off his beard. 

[Sources: Letters of Saint Therese of Lisieux, Volume I (1877-1890), tr. John Clarke, O.C.D.  Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1982, p. 439, LD, June 26, 1888 from Celine Guerin to her nieces, footnote 3) and Sainte Therese de Lisieux (1873-1897) by Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.  Paris: Editions du Cerf, 2010, pp. 289-290].