(Editor’s Note: The following story is part of a year-long series commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Diocese of Colorado Springs’ Office of Marriage and Family Life.)
In a time when Pope Francis has to remind parents to teach their children and the whole family to say three words — “please,” “thank-you,” and “I’m sorry,” — it’s good to look to saintly parents who raised saintly children.
Two such parents are Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, who were canonized together by Pope Francis on Oct. 18, 2015. The Martins were the parents of St. Thérese of the Child Jesus, a Doctor of the Church, and Léonie Martin, who is on her way to beatification. The Martins are also the patron saints of parenting. What can we learn from their lives?
Like many parents today, both of them worked. Zélie Martin had a flourishing lace business by age 25, which was not common for that time period. Louis Martin joined her in the business after they were married.
Louis and Zélie began each day by attending Mass and loved to spend time in eucharistic adoration. The couple also served the poor and the sick. But they also knew how to enjoy themselves.
Louis, in particular, was a great singer and imitator. He brought joy to the family by performing bird songs, reading stories and providing other entertainment after dinner.
Their lives certainly were not devoid of hardship, however. For one thing, none of their sons lived to adulthood. However, in spite of their losses, the Martins did not try to dissuade their daughters from entering religious life. In fact, they did everything they could to foster their children’s vocations. All five of their daughters entered the convent.
In his homily for the Mass of their canonization, Pope Francis said of Louis and Zélie Martin: “The radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. By saying yes to God in the mundaneness of our daily life and work, as Sts. Louis and Zélie did, we pave the way for courageously saying yes in life’s bigger or more difficult moments.”
The Martins are the Patron Saints of the Office of Marriage and Family Life of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. One-hour presentations on their life are offered to parishes upon request. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.