Louis and Zelie Martin are the first married couple to be canonized together. Their marriage was a true love story. They loved God, each other, and their children. Their love extended to neighbors and strangers who needed help.
The Sacrament of Matrimony shows Christ’s love for his Church. Marriage calls the couple to be a visible sign of God’s love in the world. The Martins’ witness of spousal love and holy parenthood make them inspiring role models for Catholic parents today.
The life of Louis and Zelie Martin
LOUIS MARTIN (1823–1894)
MARIE-AZELIE “ZELIE” GUERIN MARTIN (1831–1877)
Feast day: July 12
Patron saints of married couples
Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin both sought vocations to religious life but were denied acceptance. It seems that God had other plans. The two met, fell in love, and married. Together they raised five daughters in a home filled with faith, love, and laughter.
The busy working couple made time for prayer, service to the poor, and family activities. In the joys and sorrows of marriage, God was always at the center of their lives. Louis and Zelie grew together in holiness and taught their children to be holy.
Zelie died when their youngest child was four. Louis took care of the girls with the help of relatives, until he himself became ill. Eventually, all five girls entered the convent and became nuns. Their youngest daughter is well known throughout the Church as St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower.
■ Louis enjoyed nature and the outdoors. Take a nature hike and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
■ Read St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul, for insight into the life of her holy family.
The Sacrament of Matrimony
Matrimony, one of two Sacraments at the Service of Communion, is a sign of God’s life and love. Sometimes called a sacrament of vocation, the married couple serves God, their families, and the Church.
Usually celebrated during Mass, the bride and groom are the true ministers of the sacrament of Matrimony. They vow to be faithful to each other until death. A priest (or deacon) acts as the Church’s official witness of the sacrament.
Graces of the sacrament help the couple grow together in holiness and love. A husband and wife welcome children as precious gifts from God. As Catholic parents, they are called to create a loving home and raise their children in the faith.
■ Nurture a Catholic lifestyle within your family by attending Mass, reading the Bible, praying together, and reaching out in service to others.
■ Create a family tree and learn about your family history. Record the names of relatives, dates, and important events on a diagram or chart.
■ Take part in a Blessing Prayer on a wedding anniversary. Look at pictures and share memories of the wedding festivities. Make a special meal or dessert for everyone to enjoy.
■ The Martin family cherished spending time together. Plan a game night or attend a sporting or cultural event as a family.
BARBARA YOFFIE, MRE, is a director of religious education and saint enthusiast. She is the author of the Saints and Me! series from Liguori Publications.
PHOTO: NANCY BAUER/SHUTTERSTOCK
This article was originally published in Catechist, March 2020.