12 July: Blessed Louis and Marie-Azélie Martin and Breast Cancer

Our frequent interlocutrix and commentatrix here, “Supertradmum”, has a nice reminder on her own blog, Etheldredasplace, about two of our family of Blesseds whom you may not be aware of or know to acknowledge today, their feast.

Sometimes those blesseds and saints who have been beatified or canonized more recently evade our attention because they are not in all our books and calendars yet.

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin

Today in the Novus Order is the feast day of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s great and humble parents. They are among the patrons of this blog. [Her blog, of course.] July 13th was the day of their marriage. So, this would have been a preparation day. They were married at midnight in the local church without hardly anyone there, just the witnesses and a few. How wonderful! How private and how sacred! Brides and grooms could take a lesson from this humble couple.

May God raise up other men and women who are married to create saints among us. May the intercession of Louis and Zelie lead us into our vocations and help us to trust in God at all times.

May Zelie comfort those women who have had or have breast cancer, and may she allow those who do not to refrain from judging those who do.

I like the fact that our friend Supertradmum pointed out the connection with breast cancer, which is what carried off Marie-Azélie.

One of the more interesting choices John Paul II made during his long pontificate was the Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi.  Pope Benedict continued with Marie-Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin.  These beatifications underscore the vocation of married couples and the fact that spouses can and must seek holiness together.

Marriage is a vocation that aims at bringing children into the world and helping each other to love God and seek heaven.


My friend Fr. Stephen Reynolds at St. Theresa’s in Sugar Land, TX had a beautiful bronze made of the couple for a shrine.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mike cliffson says:

    Thankyou father! 24/7, where outside holy mother church will we hear,see or be reminded of this!
    Marriage is
    a vocation
    that aims at
    bringing children into the world
    helping each other to love God and seek heaven.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Bl. Marie-Azelie and Louis were both shrewd businesspeople and good crafters, and they both got married late in life and even a bit reluctantly. So there’s some more things they might help folks with.

    But of course, they will always be best known for being incredibly affectionate and determinedly Catholic parents, who raised saints like other people raise rosebushes.

  3. The Little Flower very much favored her sweet mother. What a family the Martins were.

  4. Joseph-Mary says:

    Another couple has been declared Servants of God: Settimio and Licia Manelli from Italy. They were parents of 21 children! And they were close friends of St. Padre Pio. One of their sons, Fr. Stefano Manelli, is the founder of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

    It is good to see the Martins and others who lived normal married lives (some of the saintly marrieds were celibate) to have as an example before us so as to see that the vocation of marriage truly is also a path to holiness.

  5. Father:

    What say you?

    When I strode–sauntered?–walked into the sacristy for Mass this morning, I looked in the Ordo for this. Alas, no mention!

    I think I recall correctly that the commemoration of blesseds is not granted universally, but in particular areas; whereas the commemoration of those canonized is always allowed.

    So, without being certain it was “kosher,” I did not offer a Mass formulary for these blesseds.

    There being other blesseds I would be delighted to commemorate with Mass if possible, I await serenely your guidance on the matter, if you care to give it.

    (FWIW, it is my understanding that this restriction on Masses does not apply to other forms of veneration; i.e., one can erect an image to any blessed.)

    [Blesseds are not generally venerated at the altar except in the areas where their veneration is approved. That means usually the place where the Blessed is from or interred. Permission can be sought, however, through the local bishop. In the case of this blessed couple, permission was given to the parish in Sugar Land, Texas I mentioned in the top entry.]

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Martin Fox, the Westminster Diocese in England must be one of those places, as the priest celebrated Mass commemorating the couple today. A reader sent me a collect, but from which area of the world, I do not know. It is here and on my post as of earlier today:

    you have given to Blessed Louis and Marie Zélie
    the grace to lead a life of holiness as Christian spouses and parents.
    Grant that through their intercession and example
    each of us may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
    living worthily our own vocation.
    Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.

  7. Margaret says:

    Soooo… How do these joint processes work? Do we ask their intercession individually or jointly? What if one “gets credit” for a miracle before the other one?

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Margaret, when the Quattrocchis were made blessed, they only had one miracle attributed to the intercession of both of them together. This seems logical, as marriage makes two people into one spiritually and physically. The same is true for Louis and Zelie. Pietro Schiliro, age 5 at the time, of Monza, Italy was healed of a serious heart defect through the intercession of the two together.

    Here is a link.http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/the-miracle/

    But for those who do not have time, here is a snippet:”….. Pietro, lying on his bed, motionless, his arms crossed, supported by eighteen tubes (drains, perfusions, catheters, etc.) participated in the great saving mission of Jesus and that “when the Lamb will open the book of life, what a surprise for the Heavenly Court to hear proclaimed with the names of missionaries and martyrs those of poor little children who never performed dazzling actions.” [1]
    Father Antonio talked to us about Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese, and we decided to make a novena asking their intercession for the cure of Pietro and to hasten their beatification. We distributed more than 500 pictures to our family, our friends, our parish, and our co-workers; we made several novenas with the conviction that we would be answered, without any merit on our part, by the pure goodness of the Lord. And the improvement came abruptly: on the 26th and 27th of June, Pietro had such crises of insufficient breathing that, on arriving at the hospital in the morning, we wondered if we would find him still alive. The nurse reassured us at once and talked of a miracle. The improvement continued, so much that on July 3 Pietro was taken off artificial respiration.
    When we left the hospital definitively, after returning home, we took a bouquet of flowers to the altar of the church. But our way of giving thanks is especially to witness to make known the parents of Therese Martin.”

    Pietro is now ten years old.

  9. Margaret, any miracle sought from God would have to be asked for by the intercession of both of the couple, explicitly and clearly. Were there to be relics or images involved, they would have to be of both of the couple. It must be demonstrable that both were being invoked together, not separately.

  10. mamajen says:

    Interesting, Father Z–I was not aware that their intercession must be asked jointly. I was praying to only Louis Martin when my uncle was dying from cancer. I can’t remember if I was unaware that her mother is also Blessed, or if I just figured that praying to the father made sense since my uncle was also a father. In any case, I will certainly keep that in mind going forward. How beautiful it is that a married couple can become saints together! And July 13th, their anniversary, just happens to be my husband’s birthday.

    St. Therese has long been a favorite of mine. We share so much in common personality-wise. I do believe she has interceded for me on more than one occasion. I read Story of a Soul last year and really enjoyed it. Such a fascinating family.

  11. irishgirl says:

    What a beautiful photo of the shrine to Blessed Louis and Blessed Zelie Martin in Texas!
    I’ve seen photos of their reliquary, which is in the crypt of Saint Therese’s Basilica in France. It was made of Irish elm, and had panels showing the places associated with their courtship and marriage (St. Leonard’s Bridge, the Church of Notre-Dame and the house on Rue St-Blaise in Alencon, and Les Buissonets in Lisieux), a family portrait of the two Blesseds with all their children [the five surviving daughters in their religious habits, and the four children who died in infancy and early childhood], and reproductions of the paintings which Celine Martin did of St. Therese with her parents.
    One of the most unusual features on the reliquary was the three clocks (Blessed Louis was after all a clockmaker by profession) showing the exact times of death of the mother (Zelie), the father (Louis) and the youngest daughter (Therese).
    It was especially moving to see the portrait of little Pietro, the boy who was cured, sitting at the feet of Blessed Louis.
    You know, I had completely forgotten that yesterday was the feastday of the Blessed Martin couple!

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