The rosary with Saints Louis and Zelie Martin
Luminous Mysteries with Saints Louis and Zelie
1st Mystery: The Baptism of the Lord
We meditate in this mystery, with Saints Louis and Zelie, on our vocation to holiness.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”From the Gospel according to Saint Mark (Mk 1:9-11)
As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”From the first letter of the Apostle Peter (1Pet 1: 15-16)
Saints Louis and Zelie Martin made of their daily Nazareth a path of holiness. The Church proclaims them saints in the sense that they have lived the spirit of the Beatitudes. They are given to us as witnesses of the holiness of God.
Therese knew that she had incomparable parents to whom she owed her vocation. After the death of his wife, Louis would tell his children: “Your holy mother.” Long before the family’s departure to Lisieux, the family circle happily spoke about “Saint Mr. Martin.” He exercised such radiance and a testimony that left no one indifferent.
For many of the people from Alencon, the Martin parents were saints within the humble everyday reality of their lives. Faith in them was rooted in prayer as a family, daily Eucharist, love of God and man, fidelity to the Church. Their daughters testified to the love of their parents for the poor and those in need.
The holiness of the Martin spouses is a challenge, an incitation for our families in certain aspects: they tell us that it is possible to fulfill the universal call to holiness, even for laypeople, even for spouses and parents, educators or business leaders. It can be said that the Martin spouses “discovered a little way” to become holy together, as a couple, and they communicate to us their experience of holiness in relation to sexuality, money, work, politics, school, the upbringing of children, and health.
In the past, as still today for many, holiness appeared as a prerogative of those who entered the convent or seminary. The Martin couple, canonized on October 2018, tells us that holiness is feasible even within the walls of family life, in the midst of problems of raising children, of work which, however complex they may be, are not an obstacle but a method. that is to say, a way, a path of holiness.
They showed that the evangelical imperative of Jesus to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, since it is in this that holiness resides, is achievable outside the monastery, in a lay life.
For further reflection
What image do we have of holiness? Do we feel called to holiness? As a couple? As a family, like the Martin Family? What are we doing to walk on this path of holiness?
We pray to you Lord for our vocation to holiness.
Allow everyone you call to hear the invitation that you extend to them to follow you in trust and joy.
Give us what we need to follow Your Son on the path that He shows us, after the example of Saints Louis and Zelie Martin.
Prayer of the Decade
2nd Mystery: The Wedding at Cana
We meditate in this mystery, with Saints Louis and Zelie, on education.
When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”From the Gospel according to Saint John (Jn 2: 3-5)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—this is the first commandment with a promise: “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.From the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Eph 6: 1-4)
Saints Louis and Zelie were in constant agreement in the education of their children, both human and spiritual. If the orientation of souls towards God is principal, then human equilibrium guarantees you of a solid foundation through the determination to seek the good and the docility in the will to realize it.
More than to themselves, the Martins knew how to dedicate themselves to their children as well as to the poor. The socio-political conditions which they had to confront made this couple exemplary witnesses of detachment and generosity towards their children and their neighbor. Given the extent of work to be done, Zelie often complained of having to hurry, but the economic gains never prevailed over love.
We see in her letters that Zelie went so far as to prevent the young Marie from getting up too early in the morning to go to Mass. The good academic results of Pauline were pleasing, but the essential remained: “that she becomes a saint.”
All of the teaching methods were proven to draw trust from Leonie, a difficult child.
Celine, meanwhile, learned to love the poor.
Therese, still very small, was hardly encouraged in her moments of strong willfulness; however, what patience her mother showed, who was very attentive to her while she worked or wrote her letters. Therese will be marked for life by this example, a reflection of the loving attitude of God for her as for every man.
For further reflection
Perhaps we can ask ourselves what is a successful education? As parents, what goal do we pursue in educating our children?
As children, how do we receive the education our parents give us?
What do we value the most; on which points are we the most demanding?
We pray to you, Lord, for our children, for our teenagers, for our parents and our families.
Through the intercession of Saints Louis and Zelie, may the Holy Spirit enliven us and help us to find meaning, a plan for your life.
Prayer of the Decade
3rd Mystery: The Proclamation of the Gospel
We meditate in this mystery, with Saints Louis and Zelie, on charity.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel.”From the Gospel according to Saint Mark (Mk 1: 15)
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (Mt 25: 31-40)
Saint Louis Martin wanted to dedicate his life to help people in the mountains while Saint Zelie wanted to dedicate herself to a congregation of charity. Both, in marriage, spread out the riches of their hearts to the service of others, in their own family, under their roof, as well as in the course of meetings and current events.
They did not love each other just because of their human and psychological qualities: in loving each other, each sought God in the other. In loving each other, each sought the good and happiness of the other.
Their love was very big and very strong:
Saint Zelie writes in her letters: “I’m always so happy with him, he makes my life very pleasant. What a holy man my husband is. I wish the same for all women.” “Our feelings were always in unison and he was always a consoler and a support.”
The charity or help they gave was not an ostentatious gesture but a true attention to people and their human situations. The poor were fed, clothed and washed.
One day, Louis, after giving money to a poor man, called all his daughters and invited them to kneel before him to ask for his blessing…
Celine remembers a return from a walk:
“At the outskirts of the city, my father entered a house unknown to us, but which seemed familiar to him; I saw him give a sum of money to a woman, a mother, who was there alone with her children.
Mr. Martin said to her, “She is an unfortunate woman who is abandoned by her husband periodically, and of whom I have made it a habit to help her.”
For further reflection
What place do we leave to our neighbor? Who is our neighbor? As a family, our “duties” of charity consist of what?
We pray to you Lord, expand our love for our neighbor, that we may be attentive to the weakest in our own families and around us.
Through the intercession of Saints Louis and Zelie, give us the strength to go to those whom we love with more difficulty.
Prayer of the Decade
4th Mystery: The Transfiguration
We meditate in this mystery, with Saints Louis and Zelie, on suffering: in suffering, keep trusting!
And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.From the Gospel according to Saint Luke (Lk 9: 29)
Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (Mt 26: 38-42)
The greatest sufferings that Louis and Zelie Martin endured were undoubtedly with their illness, the death of four of their children.
It is not uncommon at that time to see children die. The correspondence of Zelie makes ample mention of it. And like a number of families today, they experienced the test of cancer and illness, which the lack of drugs and painkillers, at the time, made it particularly painful.
However, the Martin spouses lived in a complete detachment of themselves: it is in God that everything takes its meaning and its end.
Sr. Marie Dosithée writes to her brother Isidore about their sister Zelie :
“Poor Zelie, she is not easily consoled after all the losses she has had this year; she is in a distressing solitude. When she goes up to my poor Father’s room and hears nothing but the silence of death (Mr. Guérin senior had died on 3rd September 1868), she remembers the evenings they used to have, enlivened with all his grandchildren playing. Grand-father would be there by the fire-side, roasting chestnuts and playing in the little family’s games, and now there is nothing. The dear old man is dead and the children are gone.
I fear that in the end her health will be affected as a result of so many shocks, however what reassures me slightly is her faith and truly incredible and prodigious courage, what a strong woman! Adversity does not strike her down, prosperity does not lift her up. She is admirable!”
One month before her mother’s death, Marie, their eldest daughter, testified:
“On Sunday, she wanted to go to the first Mass again, but it took her tremendous strength and effort to get to Church. Every step she took resounded in her neck….
At the least movement she lets out harrowing cries.
And yet how patiently and resignedly she bears this dreadful illness. She never puts down her rosary; she still prays despite her suffering, we all admire her for it, for nothing can match her strength and energy.
A fortnight ago she was still saying the whole rosary on her knees at the foot of the Blessed Virgin Mary in my bedroom that she loves so much. Seeing her so sick I wanted to make her sit down, but it was pointless.”
But Saint Zelie would say, “God does not do things half-way; He always gives us what we need; let us have great courage!” Zelie.
Twelve years after the death of his wife, Louis, whose uremia and arteriosclerosis caused violent attacks, was admitted to Bon Sauveur, the psychiatric hospital in Caen. The humiliation affected the entire family. Louis accepted it and repeated: “All for the greatest glory of God.”
For further reflection
Yes, despite our wounds, our deep sufferings, God carries us, consoles us, rescues us.
In the midst of suffering, what do we do? Do we rebel or turn to Him who can do All things?
Do we ask him for his help to be able to live with our difficulties? Do we offer Him our sufferings?
We entrust to you, Lord, all the difficulties that we have to go through with our family.
We also pray for all families in difficulty, those that may be faced with unemployment, illness, separation …
We pray for families who cannot have children, who have aborted or lost their child.
Lord, through the intercession of Saints Louis and Zelie, we ask you for your paternal blessing on all these families and we ask you to fix upon them, your gaze of Mercy, support and comfort.
Prayer of the Decade
5th Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
We meditate in this mystery, with Saints Louis and Zelie, on our relationship with God:
“Put everything in the hands of God”
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”From the Gospel according to Saint Luke (Lk 22: 19-20)
The faith of Saints Louis and Zelie is great and unwavering. In all of the trials that the Family has experienced, God is the Master and also the Father who watches over his children.
Their spontaneous impulse is to put everything in His hands, which does not detract from the human part of doing everything in their power.
Everything is put with full trust in the hands of God.
Zelie writes: “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.” Zelie, CF 1
Also, Zelie is surprised that her younger brother Isidore can act differently in his major decisions:
“I was very surprised that you hadn’t let our sister in Le Mans know (Sr Marie-Dosithée). I believed you had more faith, and I thought you would have commended yourself to her prayers for something like this, on which your future depends.”
In the difficulties and in mourning, Louis and Zelie continue to give back everything to the Lord:
In the fear felt after the successive deaths of her children, Zelie writes:
“This morning, during Mass, I had such dark thoughts about this that I was very deeply moved. 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.”
Prayer is thus anchored throughout their daily life.
For further reflection
What place does God have in my life, in my family? The first?
In our daily life, what are our worries? What are we afraid of?
What attitudes do we adopt before our turmoils?
Do we hand it over with faith and trust in the Lord?
What place does prayer have in our family?
We pray to you Lord, through the intercession of Saints Louis and Zelie, for the growth of faith in our families.
May each one of us give witness of great trust in you.
May this trust inspire us to turn entirely to You to know you more each day.