A happy feast to Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin! As a feast-day gift to my readers, I have created a photo gallery today of my privileged visit, as a pilgrim to their beatification, to the house and garden at 7 rue Labbey where Louis Martin lived with his daughters Leonie and Celine after he was released from the Bon Sauveur psychiatric hospital at Caen. For the story of this visit and present-day photos of the house at Rue Labbey and of Isidore Guerin's house on Rue-Paul Banaston, please visit the photo gallery for Blessed Louis Martin's home on Rue Labbey.
The first liturgical feast of Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Therese, will be celebrated on Sunday, July 12, the anniversary of their marriage in 1858. The Shrine at Lisieux has announced a two-day celebration of liturgy, prayer, and festivities.Cardinal Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, will preside at a Pontifical Mass in the Basilica of St. Therese, where Louis and Zelie were beatified on October 19, 2009. See the schedule of liturgies and festivities.
In honor of the first feast of the Martin spouses, I am happy to present the photo show "Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux: Their lives and beatification" above. Please celebrate the feast by joining us in this virtual pilgrimage to the places Louis and Zelie made holy by living with such faith, hope, and love. View the historic exhibit "Story of a Family" mounted at Lisieux in honor of the beatification, with furniture, possessions, documents, and photos belonging to the Martin family. See photos of Pietro Schiliro, the Italian child healed at the intercession of Zelie and Louis, and photos of his family. View the images of the beatification ceremony and of the reliquary. Come as a pilgrim of the heart to honor the faithful servants of God, and ask for the grace to imitate them.
Léonie Martin, Disciple and Sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Léonie Martin, the sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, became Sister Françoise-Thérèse of the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen in northern France. Léonie led a challenging life: ill from childhood; abused by a maidservant; expelled from school; isolated within her family. She tried religious life three times before she succeeded: in 1899, at the age of 35, she entered definitively the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen, where she died in 1941 at the age of 78.
How did the troubled child and unhappy teenager turn into the sister everyone remembered as so kind, so serene, and so happy that they could not believe she had had a difficult childhood? As a laywoman, Léonie lived at the margins of her family and her society. She found Christ there and made him the center and the source of her life. She discovered God within herself, in her woundedness, and she became the first disciple of Thérèse's "way of confidence and love."
After her death, Léonie was almost forgotten for a long time. But, about 1960, the nuns of her monastery began to receive letters from all over the world asking them to pray that Léonie might obtain graces for those who wrote. Many of these letters came from the parents of special children, from families in conflict, and from persons who, like Léonie, struggle to find and to fulfill their vocations. These were followed by letters of thanksgiving. Pilgrims come to pray at her tomb, to ask for graces and to give thanks. Now she is being considered for beatifcation. Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, the diocese where Léonie lived most of her life and where she died, has granted the imprimatur for a prayer asking that Léonie might be declared "venerable" (that is, declared to have practced heroic virtue).
Léonie's mission is to draw souls, especially the wounded, the broken, and those who have not found a place in the world, to God. Invite her to accompany you and to lead you to surrender yourself, as she did, to God's "consuming and transforming love."
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Copyright Maureen O'Riordan 2013-2016. All rights reserved.