Saints Louis and Zélie Martin weren’t just parents of a canonized saint (and doctor of the Church), Thérèse of Lisieux, they are also saints in their own right. In fact, they were the first husband and wife to be canonized as a couple. Among other things, they are patron saints of marriage and parenting, and they are great role models for both.
Here are some lessons to take away from their own marriage:
Put God First
Saints Louis and Zélie both originally planned on entering the religious life. Louis was turned away from the priesthood due to his lack of knowledge of Latin. Zélie was turned away from religious life, possibly due to her poor health. God had a different plan for their path to sainthood: through marriage and family life.
Their love for God did not take a backseat to their love for each other and their children. Faith was at the forefront of the Martin household. The devout couple attended daily mass regularly, refrained from working on Sundays, were generous in their community, and raised their children firmly in the faith.
Dear God, in my own marriage, give me the strength, fortitude, and wisdom to put our faith and our love of you before everything. Help us to show our children your love through the beauty and sacraments of your Church. Amen.
Louis was a skilled watchmaker, but he gave up his business and joined his wife in hers; she was a skilled lacemaker. Together they ran a profitable business and treated their employees kindly.
Dear God, help us work together in our marriage, support my spouse in his or her work, and sacrifice willingly for the good of our family. Bless our work inside and outside the home and provide for us everything we need. Amen.
Give your children to God
After giving birth Zélie consecrated each of her children to God with the following prayer:
Lord, grant me the grace that this child may be consecrated to You, and that nothing may tarnish the purity of its soul.
What Louis and Zélie wanted most for their children was for each of them to know and love God and to live in eternal happiness with Him. They recognized their children as a gift from God and were happy to offer them back into his care and protection.
Dear God, Thank you for blessing me with my beautiful children. It is my great honor to parent them and I pray that you help me do it well. I consecrate my children to You through the words of Saint Zélie: Lord, grant me the grace that my children may be consecrated to You, and that nothing may tarnish the purity of their souls. Amen.
Louis and Zélie, although firm, showered their children with love and affection. They took time out of their days to play with them and had sweet nicknames for each of their daughters. After Zélie’s death, Louis spent time reading to his children and enjoyed long walks with them in the evenings.
Dear God, in this busy season of life it feels impossible to stop and enjoy my children. Quiet my heart and clear my schedule so I can dote on the precious babies you saw fit to place in my care. Amen.
Pray for Vocations
Louis and Zélie had 9 children; unfortunately, 4 passed away as infants and young children. Their 5 surviving daughters all entered religious life! The Martins supported their daughters in their faith and in their vocations. Their own vocation as a married couple paved the way for their canonization showing us there are many ways to become a saint.
Dear God, you have a plan and a purpose for the lives of my children. Help them find their vocation. Open their hearts to the calling of religious life. Guide them in their journey to sainthood. Amen.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin never planned on marrying or having children, yet God led them to each other and blessed them with many children and their vocation led them closer to God. Ask for the intercession of Saints Louis and Zélie to bless your own marriage and help lead you and your spouse closer to God and to each other.