How Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin lived their single life before they met
Aleteia – 10/26/2020
They’ve long been considered an example to married couples, but have a lot to teach single people as well.
Louis and Zélie Martin were not always the saintly married couple we know today. They were single for a relatively long time before they met, at least by the standards of the time: Louis was 34 years old when they married, while Zélie was 25. On top of that, their path to meeting and marrying was not the most direct. As the first spouses to be canonized, they are of course excellent guides for married couples, but their way of living their single life, each in their own way, also makes them beautiful models for single people.
A period of searching
A vocation is not always obvious, and discernment can be long and difficult. This was the case for Louis and Zélie. They did not yet know each other, but both of them, at the dawn of their adult lives, experienced a strong encounter with the Lord. It was for each “a spiritual experience that led them to commit themselves, each in their own way, to a project of consecration to God,” Fr. Thierry Hénault-Morel explains to Aleteia.
Around the age of 22, Louis became attracted to the monastic life and was asked to enter the monastery of Grand-Saint-Bernard. His application was rejected, however, because he didn’t know Latin. As for Zélie Guérin, she thought of becoming a nun at the Hôtel-Dieu d’Alençon, but the community’s superior doubted Zélie’s vocation and dissuaded her.
These frustrated desires show how much their single life was troubled by questions and dead ends. They sought their way for many years, but when they finally found each other, they married just three months later and went on to become great saints.
Louis and Zélie, two ways of approaching single life
To his mother’s great dismay, marriage was not on Louis’ mind. Instead he joined the Christian activities inspired by two great charitable figures from Alençon, Vital Romet and his sister Pauline Romet -– both single. Through this prayer and charitable work, he found great meaning in his single life...Read more