The Love of Louis and Zelie

About This Episode

In this episode, we sit down and talk about St. Louis and St. Zelie Martin. The first married couple to be canonized at the same time in the church. We talk about their life together, how they supported each other, and how this can be applied to our lives today.

Episode Links

A Call To Deeper Love

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Ann Losinski 0:02
Welcome back to the Catholic Brides podcast. My name is Ann and today we’re gonna be talking about two of my favorite sayings of all time. And I wanted to share a little bit about these two because of the example that they set for marriage for married people, and just the beautiful witness that they have not only in my own life, but also for the church as a whole. So today we’re gonna be talking about Louis and Zelie Martin. So a lot of you might know these as the parents of St. Terese, they’re just recently canonized, they were canonized in 2016. And what’s really cool about these two, is they were the first married couple, to be canonized together and to go through that whole process of canonization as a couple. So in the past there have been married couples that have been canonized, but they each one through their own individual processes, to be able to reach that canonisation point. But in the case of Louis and Zelie the church wanted to make a beautiful statement by canonizing them together to show married couples that holiness, can be attained together and to show them that they can achieve that sanctity get that sainthood by living out their marriage to the fullest. So, St. Louis and st Zelie, they are known as the parents of St. Terese of Lesiux. So a lot of people assume that they lived in Lesiuex and that was where their life was, but actually they lived in Alacon France, so it’s a little bit, always away from Liseux and Louie eventually moved to Liseux after Zelie passed away, but we’ll talk about that in a little bit here. So they lived in Alcion and they had it their life there. So Zelie actually was lacemaker, she was a very successful lacemaker. So she had her own business at making lace up for the people there and was very well known and very popular in that regard, and her husband Louis actually had a watchmaking business. And so he also had his own trade that he did as well, but he actually, ultimately, once they got married, gave up his watchmaking business and supported his wife in her role as a lace maker and basically ran her business for her, as she continued to stay home and raise her children, and also continued to make lace. So Louis would go and he would sell this lace for Zelie in the different places and she would be the homemaker and also run her own business as well, which I think is very inspiring for a lot of people to know that, like, a lot of, there’s a lot of pressure for women to stay at home, or to work outside of the home, but Zelie was able to have that business in her home and be able to still nurture and bring up for her children in that way. Um so Louis and Zelie met and married in 1858. They married after three months of courtship. So it was a very quick engagement time for them, but they actually both tried to enter religious life before they got married. So, Louis tried to become a priest, but was ultimately rejected because of the fact that he struggled so much with Latin, and they Zelie tried to enter a convent. But she ultimately was rejected from that as well. And so God decided to bring them together as a couple, and to nurture their domestic church to be able to bring up children in the faith and to be able to give those children back to God. So one of the things that Zelie did was, that was very prominent was to make sure that she was continuing to offer her children back to God and knew that so much and so deeply that these children are gifts, and that they were to be given back to God for God to do whatever he wanted to do with their lives. So, they were very very holy people very devout people would go to church together would bring up their children and the faith together. So they ultimately ended up having a total of nine children. So they had a very big family.

However, four of those children were lost before age five, so they all died in various stages of either infancy. They lost one child when he was a little bit older, and this was very very hard and very very difficult for them. But, in the midst of that they also have five girls that they brought up. And if you know the story of St. Louis and St. Zelie, St Therese obviously entered the convent, but all five of those daughters that lived to adulthood, also entered the convent as well. So they had five daughters that were essentially given back to God and that was the fruit of their domestic church that they raised their children in. So they had. Obviously, their four children that passed away but then they have Marie, they had Pauline, they had Helene, they had Leoni and Celine, and St. Therese. So, just making sure that they were bringing up their children to be very devout and very, like, Catholic and teaching them the ways of the faith and bringing them up in that was very important to both of them. However, you might realize it’s very difficult to live a perfect life, and Louis and Zelie. They strived for holding us all the time, but their life was not obviously not perfect and not. Not to say that they were, they weren’t bad parents, but they also struggled obviously like all of us who struggled. So they did the best they could for their children. And obviously, it brings me great comfort to know that saints still have bad days they still have different things that they go through and different struggles that they try to process and overcome. But at the end of the day striving for that holiness is very very important for the sanctification of both themselves and for their families. So, in the book, “A Call To Deeper Love.” This is actually a beautiful book that I’ve been reading, and it’s available on Amazon. If you would like to purchase it I will link it below, but it is the compilation of all of the letters that we have from Louis and from Zelie. So there’s some that are written to each other but there’s also correspondence in there, of Zelie talking about her daily life and talking about the different struggles that she’s going through, and the different things that she’s dealing with in that present moment. So in this book she talks about when she goes through the death of all of her children that she eventually loses it she talks about the grieving that she’s going through the hurt the, the different things that she has to process in that moment to be able to continue to push forward, so she’ll like write to her sister or sister in law, and just tell them about the different struggles that she’s going through and just tell them, the pain that she’s feeling in that moment and it’s just a real honest raw image of St. Zelie and St. Louis, St. Louis. So there’s a lot more letters from St. Zelie, obviously because women like to write a lot more than men do generally. But St. Zelie is very outspoken and her letters about the different things that she’s going through. There’s different things in there as well that like kind of bring you comfort and talk about the different life things that go through like things really needed a maid at one point. A lot of us think we have to do it all. But knowing that even a saint needs help, sometimes and to know when to ask for that help is also very beautiful.

Also like the different grieving processes she goes through with her different children like same daily suffered a lot, but she still was able to bring glory to God through that suffering and still able to lift up her family and offer them back to God like God if this is what you want that is what I want to type of mentality. And just to show the different things that she went through there is super beautiful to read. She talks a lot about each of her different children, and the things that they go through, there’s also a lot of health problems with some of her children that lived, so she talks about the struggles of feeling that she’s going to lose another child and just the different things that’s a really raw and honest glimpse into the fact that St. Zelie didn’t have it all together all the time, but her love for her family and her love for her husband, definitely showed through, and it definitely shows a glimpse into the beauty of the married life, so we don’t have to always have it all together. We don’t have to have all of the answers, and also the fact that it is okay to grieve, it is okay to sometimes not question God, but also question God and be like “God why is? Help me to know your well, help me to know why I’m going through this helped me to process it and help me to grow into a better human as well and help me to grow in deeper love with you. So, it sure is a very much a very deep glimpse into the type of person that she was. And the very type of person that she always strove to be to be holy and to also to be real and to know that there is a lot of realness, and a lot of struggles and this as well. And another thing is like, obviously, St. Zelie had children and her children are always obedient, all the time as children typically aren’t so to know that even saints struggled with some of the daily things that a lot of us struggle with disciplining children learning to love those children and to help them grow and to help them learn and to develop into the beautiful people that they are, and also just that kind of model for the domestic church, and the role that the woman plays in building up that church is super important and super critical, so a lot of times we talk about being a homemaker, but we also need to talk about the fact that as a homemaker and as the person that cleans houses all of those things it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to get help and it’s okay to also just know that God is going to provide for all of the needs that you have, even if you can’t see it in the present moment. And just to know that part of our role as a woman and as a homemaker, is to build up that domestic church is to teach our children about the faith and is to remain strong in our own faith so that we can pass that spark down to our children and pass

that love down into our children, because if we’re not practicing our own faith and we’re not growing and praying and growing deeper in love with the Lord. Then our whole family is going to suffer from that. So, taking the lessons from St. Zelie of learning to grow deeper learning to talk with others about it and learning to continue to grow in holiness so that that holiness can be passed on to our children, and also to our spouse in that sort of Union as well. St Louis was obviously a very supportive role he quit his own job to help Zelie because Zelie was very very successful and her lacemaking and lacemaking in that time was a very highly sought after trade. So, Louis was away a lot to be selling the lace for Zelie comes with a Zelie would be at home tending to her children and Louis would be off, selling the lace in different parts of France for a Zelie so he was a very supportive role and very successful in his own way of showing love and showing admiration for his wife and supporting her in that role, but also supporting her in the domestic church as well, like Louis suffered greatly as well, with Louis, when they lost their children who suffered greatly with Zelie Towards the end of her life as well. So as we look towards the end of Zelie’s life. Bailey died fairly young she died at age 45. She died of breast cancer, which wasn’t very well known back then, didn’t really know what was going on with her. But we know today that that is what she passed away from. And so in those last months of her life, Louis was there to support her. And also as soon as Zelie passed away Louis was there to continue raising their children, because at that point St. Therese was only four or five years old. So she was still very very young. She remembers her mother’s death, and she remembers the role that her father stepped into after her mother passed away. So, Louis then took his family after Zelie passed away, Louis, took his family to Lisueux to and foster their domestic church there. He’s still prayed together and he still kind of took over that paternal and maternal role as well, so he had to step into both roles and still Foster and build up that church. So even though Zelie was at home with her children. Until she passed away. Then, Louie had to come in and be that figure that would be there to grow in holiness with them as well. Not to say that they didn’t do that before because they were still a very Holy Family and very much devoted together and the love between St Louis and Louis was very very deep, and if you read the book that I was talking about the “Call to Deeper Love”, you can read some of the letters. A lot of the letters are to other family members but there are some letters that are to each other. So, either Zelie wrote it to Louis or Louis wrote it to Zelie. Just you talk about the love that they have between each other and you can see that yearning and that longing for each other when they’re away from each other. So, just kind of realizing that the roles that they played who were a little bit different, and, but they complemented each other very very well, and they were both striving for holiness, apart from each other and striving for holiness together, supporting each other, loving each other, and then ultimately loving their children and bringing up that domestic church to be able to have those children grow up to all like all of their living children became religious sisters. One of them is a canonized saint and a doctor of the church. Another one is on our way to sainthood her cause was open in 2015, and the other ones are also super holy as well. So making sure that their love for each other, was there and making sure that they were fostering that love for each other, but also making sure that they’re fostering their love for their children, and all together bringing them. their whole family up at holiness, and ultimately to serve the greater glory of God. And that is all that we want to be able to do in this place is to be able to bring ourselves to heaven, bring our friends and our family and especially our spouse to heaven, and bring our children to heaven as well to give them that foundation that they need to be able to grow in holiness, in their own life, as they grow older and as they begin to leave the house as well. So we can use St Louis and St. Zelie as very powerful intercessors for.

If we’re dating if we’re married if we are engaged, very powerful intercessors for just bringing forward, the domestic church in our life and also bringing forward God’s will and God’s plan for our life, and praying to them to help us to grow into the roles that we need to be in. So, first St Louis and St. Zelie it looked one certain way so it looked probably very different than it might look today, but growing in how we can support each other. What is the best for our family what is best for each other and what is best for the children that we hope to bring into this relationship. So, St. Louis supported St. Zelie and then after St. Zelie was passed away he still carried on her spirit carried on her life, and he carried with her family and that devotion and that love that they had for Jesus. And ultimately, St. Louis ended up having Alzheimer’s and then also passed away. Eventually, after St. Therese, after the convent. But just the devotion that they had and the love that they had until the end of their lives for each other. So just asking ourselves what can we do to build up our spouse and what did they need to be able to grow in holiness. So, for St Louis that looks like dropping his watchmaking business and supporting his wife om her life and her lacemaking business. For us, it might look like her in our home while our husband is working, or it might look like also working, and to support our children, but just remembering that the domestic church and fostering that life, and continuing to pray continuing to go to Mass continuing to go to confession, and continuing to just build up our own domestic church, and our love for each other is number one, and then to discern what God is calling us to do with our lives after that is also very, very important. So just making sure that we’re taking time for each other, making sure that we’re taking into account the need that our spouse has but also our own needs, and to grow in holiness and the needs of our children as well, if we’re blessed with children. So, we can use St Louis and St. Zelie as a model for holiness, and as a model to grow closer together grow closer to God and hopefully, if it is God’s will that we will also be saints in Heaven with Him and be an example for other people in the years to come. So, St. Louis and Zelie feast day is the 12th of July. So it’s a little ways away yet, but they are always powerful intercessors and that it is always okay to ask for their intercession to ask for help in our marriage, and to be open to the graces that God has for us and to be open to just the things that we need to be able to do to be able to achieve that goal of sanctity and to be able to be a saint and happen one day. So, St. Louis and St. Zelie. Pray for us. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. God bless you.

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