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Accueil > Pray > Novena to Saints Louis and Zelie

Novena to Saints Louis and Zelie

Louis and Zélie Martin are the first married couple in the history of the Church to be canonized together. Their holiness developed in the midst of everyday life, which they lived in fidelity and heroic perseverance with and for one another.

May this novena lead us into the home of the Martin family and encourage us to invoke their intercession so that we too may give God more and more room in our lives.

This novena is also available as booklet sold at the shop of the Shrine.

First Day: Prayer

« Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray. » Luke 11:1

Meditation

Prayer had an important place in the lives of Sts. Louis and Zélie; personal or as a family, it profoundly marked their children.
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus testified that when « the little queen was all alone near her King (her father) »,it was enough to « look at him to see how the saints pray. »
Céline remembered, « The days on which he went to Holy Communion he generally remained silent on his return journey. ‘I like to continue my conversation with Our Lord,’ he would say to us. »
They had great confidence in God and abandoned everything to Him in prayer. St. Zélie wrote in one of her letters, « When I think of what God, in whom I’ve put all my trust and in whose hands I’ve put the care of my whole life, has done for me and my husband, I don’t doubt that His Divine Providence watches over His children with special care. »

Resolution

Today, I will take time to encounter God in prayer, and I will confide to Him my joys and my sorrows.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Second Day: Family Life

« Let the children come to Me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. » Mark 10:14

Meditation

The Martin household knew all the joys and tribulations of normal family life. With their nine children, four of whom died at a young age, Sts. Louis and Zélie had the difficult task of helping each daughter to develop her gifts of nature and grace. They undertook it in a spirit of creativity and Faith which made them always aim higher.

Everything was done in confidence and love, and yet with humor. « I promised the children we would celebrate the feast of St. Catherine Sunday evening, » St. Zélie wrote. « Marie wants donuts, others want cake, and others chestnuts, but as for me, I would like peace. » « Happy family evenings are, at the same time, a chance for more religious instruction. » « They frequently reminded us of eternity, » recounts Marie, their oldest daughter.

Their father was « always available to listen to his daughters, to advise them, and, with a heart filled with God, to receive whatever they said. »

When difficulties arose, such as educating Léonie, they included them in their prayer. « I’m deeply saddened to see Léonie as she is. Sometimes I have hope, but often I lose heart. » « Only God can change her, and I’m convinced that He will, » her mother wrote with hope.

Resolution

Today, I will pray for my family.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Third Day: Religious Practices

« Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed. » Mark 1:35

Meditation

Sts. Louis and Zélie, « before the start of a very full day, often went to church at 5:30 in the morning. They both faithfully received Communion on the first Friday of every month. » According to the custom of their time, they received Communion four or five times a week and regularly went to Confession. They also participated in their parish’s activities such as Eucharistic Adoration, Vespers on Sunday, processions, missions during Lent, etc. They had a great devotion to the saints. St. Zélie recounted, for example, the time when baby Thérèse was at the point of death: « I quickly went upstairs to my room. I knelt at the feet of St. Joseph and asked him for mercy, that the little one be cured, resigning myself completely to the will of God if He wanted to take her. I don’t cry often, but I cried while I was praying. I didn’t know if I should go downstairs … finally, I decided to go. And what did I see? The child was suckling with all her heart. »

Resolution

Today, I will make an examination of conscience and be deeply sorry for everything that has offended God and my neighbor.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Fourth Day: Our Duties

« We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do. » Luke 17:10

Meditation

Louis and Zélie were entrepreneurs who successfully conducted their businesses independent of one another. Later, however, they worked together. It was said that Louis undertook « selling only objects of very good quality; he crafted and tested everything himself. » « He was very severe in regard to any sign of negligence or carelessness, » according to the testimony of his daughter.

Even when work seemed to overwhelm them, they knew where to turn in order to deepen their union with God. St. Zélie wrote, « It’s this miserable Alençon lace that makes life difficult. When I have too many orders, I’m a slave to the worst kind of slavery. When it’s not going well … I have nightmares! Oh well, what can I do? I must accept it and come to terms with it as bravely as possible. » She said, « God, who is a good Father … never gives His children more than they can bear. »

In spite of the profit they could have made, Louis and Zélie did not work on Sundays. They did not consider their work a means of becoming rich. « I feel, » St. Louis said, « that I could easily acquire a taste for investing, but I do not want to be carried away by that current. It is such a dangerous incline. »
Along the same lines, St. Zélie wrote to her sister-in-law: « It’s not the desire to amass a great fortune that drives me … I must go all the way for my children, and I see myself in a dilemma: I have employees whom I must furnish with work. » « Money is nothing when it’s about the sanctification and perfection of a soul. »

Resolution

Today, I will accomplish my duties out of love for God and for the good of others.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Fifth Day: Charity

« I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. » John 13:34

Meditation

The Martins were conscious of their duties to their neighbor, and the simplicity of their life made them attentive to the needs of others. Céline said, « If frugality prevailed in our home, then lavishness ruled when it came to helping the poor. We went to meet them, we searched them out, we urged them to come home with us, where their needs were satisfied: they were given food and clothes and encouraged to do what is right. I can still see my mother bustling around a poor old man. I was seven years old back then, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. We were walking in the countryside when, on the road, we met an old man who appeared destitute. Mother sent Thérèse to give him some alms. He seemed so grateful that she entered into conversation with him. Then my mother told him to follow us, and we returned home. She prepared a good dinner for him; he was starving, and she gave him clothes and a pair of shoes… And she invited him to come back to us whenever he needed anything. »

If one of her workers fell ill, St. Zélie would visit her on Sunday, happy to provide her with anything she needed. She treated her maid the same way: « It happened that she spent three weeks, night and day, at the bedside of Louis, who had a very severe attack of articular rheumatism, and whom she did not wish to send to the hospital. »

And when St. Louis, for his part, « knows that, in the neighborhood, there are ill people whose conversion is urgent, we witness his eagerness in visiting them, and in asking the whole family to pray that the sick person might decide to receive the Last Rites. … [His wife] does her best to help him in this apostolate. »

Resolution

Today, I will do something good for somebody—by a smile, a telephone call, a visit, or by giving alms…

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Sixth Day: Mercy

« Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. » Luke 6:36

Meditation

Sts. Louis and Zélie, aware of their own weakness, let the mercy of God transform them, and they tried to live it and pass it on in their everyday lives. Céline relates: « In her old age, Marie, our oldest sister, still remembered with regret, and even with tears, the sighs of our Mother in noticing the damage Marie had done to her lace, damage which our Mother herself repaired, at the price of late nights and fatigue, without addressing any reproach to her daughter. »

« Following the example of my Father, Mother also practiced kindness in judging others, never allowing herself to speak ill of her neighbor, even being delicate and scrupulous in this regard, and reproaching herself, sometimes with great humility, for the little interjections spurred by her vivaciousness. »

On this topic, Zélie said: « I had the weakness of making fun of Madame Y; I’ll regret it forever. I don’t know why I don’t like her. She’s never been anything but helpful and nice to me. … Thus I want to change completely for the good. I’ve already started because for some time I’ve been taking every opportunity to speak well of this woman. »

Resolution

Today, I will try not to speak ill of others, and I will ask the Lord for the grace to forgive those who have harmed me.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Seventh Day: Trials

« Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. » Matthew 16:24

Meditation

The holy couple had many trials—in raising their daughters, in sickness and in grief. St. Zélie told her sister-in-law, « So you see, my dear sister, everyone has troubles. The happiest are only those who are less unhappy. The wisest and simplest thing to do in all this is to resign oneself to the will of God and to prepare oneself to be ready to carry one’s cross as courageously as possible. »
In another letter she adds, « The best thing to do is to put everything in the hands of God and await the outcome in peace and abandonment to His will. That’s what I’m going to try very hard to do. »

St. Louis told his daughters that one day he made the following prayer for all the graces and blessings he received: « ‘My God, it is too much! Yes, I am too happy, it isn’t possible to go to heaven this way. I want to suffer something for you! I offer myself…’ The word ‘victim’ died on his lips, he didn’t dare pronounce it before us, but we had understood. »
St. Zélie also offered herself completely to God, particularly during the long agony of her illness. « If it only took the sacrifice of my life for Léonie to become a saint, I would give it willingly. »

Resolution

Today, I will offer my day as it comes, with trust and abandonment to God’s will.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Eighth Day: The Virgin Mary

« When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. » John 19:26-27

Meditation

Sts. Louis and Zélie had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin. A statue of Mary Immaculate was enthroned in their home; it was around that statue that the family gathered to pray. St. Zélie encouraged her brother to have recourse to the Virgin Mary also. « You live very close to Our Lady of Victory. Well! Go there just once a day and say a Hail Mary to the Blessed Mother. You’ll see that she’ll protect you in a very special way, and that she’ll help you succeed in this world and give you eternal happiness. What I’m saying to you is not exaggerated piety and unfounded on my part. I have reason to have trust in the Blessed Mother, I’ve received favors from her that only I know. »

Every year, St. Zélie made a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Séez and entrusted herself to Mary. « Again this year, I’ll go to find the Blessed Mother at daybreak, and I want to be the first to arrive. I’m going to light my candle to her as usual… I’m only going to ask her that the little daughters she’s given me all become saints and that I may follow them closely, but they must be much better than I am. » At the end of St. Zélie’s life, Marie attested, « Her Rosary beads never leave her fingers: she is praying constantly in spite of her sufferings… Until two weeks ago, she used to recite the five decades of her beads on her knees at the feet of the Blessed Virgin… »

Resolution

Today, I will be especially united to the Virgin Mary; I will pray a decade of the Rosary and entrust myself entirely and forever to my Heavenly Mother.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…

Ninth Day: The Desire for Heaven

« But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with His glorified body. » Philippians 3:20-21

Meditation

The Martins always yearned for Heaven. Every moment of their life was oriented toward this ultimate goal. St. Thérèse speaks of Heaven « to which all their actions and desires were directed. »
This was the golden rule in the education of their children, as St. Zélie testified in one of her letters. « When we had our children … we lived only for them. That was all our happiness … so I wanted to have a lot of them in order to raise them for Heaven. »

St. Louis once said to two of his daughters, « Yes, I have a goal, and my goal is to love God with all my heart. »
As for St. Zélie, she often expressed her desire to be a saint, to go to Heaven: « My mind no longer inhabits the earth. It’s traveling among higher spheres. » « True happiness is not of this world. We waste our time looking for it here. » « The world is not our true home. »

Resolution

Today, I will offer God my whole past, and I will live completely in the present, full of trust and hope, because that is the way to achieve the goal of my life—to reach Heaven.

Prayer

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to…
Prayer of the Jubilee…