Father Anthony Ho

Modern saint had saintly parents

Voices Jan. 12, 2018

Saints Louis and Zelie Martin first saw each other while crossing a bridge in France. Zelie heard an interior voice, which she believed to be that of Our Lady, saying "This is the one I have prepared for you."

St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) is one of the most popular saints in modern time. Her parents were St. Louis Martin (1823-1894) and St. Zelie Guerin (1831-1877). The saintly couple were canonized by Pope Francis on Oct. 18, 2015. St. Therese wrote, "The good God gave me a father and mother more worthy of heaven than of earth."

Born into a family of soldiers, Louis spent his early years at various French military posts. Eventually, he settled down in Alencon, a small city in France, and pursued his watchmaking trade.

At 22, Louis attempted religious life at the monastery of the Augustinian Canons of the Great St. Bernard Hospice in the Alps. Louis was required by the Abbot to learn Latin, but couldn't manage the language. Eventually he became ill and dispirited, abandoning his hopes for the monastic life.

Zelie Guerin was also born into a military family. She described her childhood and youth as "dismal," for her parents showed her little affection.

As a young lady, she sought unsuccessfully to enter the religious order of the sisters of the Hotel-Dieu. Zelie then learned the Alencon lace-making technique and started her own business.

In April 1858, Louis and Zelie first saw each other while crossing the St. Leonard Bridge over the Sarthe River in Alencon. Zelie heard an interior voice, which she believed to be that of Our Lady, saying "This is the one I have prepared for you." The two young artisans were introduced, probably by Louis's mother, who attended a lacemaking class with Zelie.

The couple married three months after they met. In those days, the French republic did not recognize church marriages, and couples in France had to first undergo a civil marriage ceremony in the town hall before the actual marriage rite in the church.

On Monday, July 12, 1858, at 10 p.m., the 34-year-old Louis and 26-year-old Zelie appeared at the town hall in Alencon and had the civil ceremony. Then at midnight on July 13 they went to Zelie's parish church, Notre Dame, for their religious ceremony.

In those days, couples who preferred a quiet, prayerful ceremony in the intimacy of the church, without a lot of show, often scheduled their wedding for midnight, especially on a weekday.

Since the Communion fast began at midnight, a midnight wedding allowed those who wished to receive Communion to do so. Louis and Zelie had a quiet, reverent wedding by candlelight, surrounded by their closest relatives and a few friends.

The couple also wanted to have time, later on their wedding day, to take the train to Le Mans to visit Zelie's sister, Marie-Louise, who had entered the monastery of the Visitation there three months earlier.

For the wedding, Zelie did not wear a white wedding gown, but a dark dress. Fabric from this dress was later used by Therese to make a vestment with a painting of flowers representing the parents and their nine children.

Within the next 15 years after the wedding, the couple had nine children, seven girls and two boys. Zelie wrote, "We lived only for them, they were all our happiness."

The couple had their sorrows and trials. Within three years, their two baby boys, a five-year-old girl, and a six-and-a-half-week old infant girl all died.

In a letter to her sister-in-law who had lost an infant son, Zelie remembered: "When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I felt sorrow through and through ... People said to me, 'It would have been better never to have had them.' I couldn't stand such language. My children were not lost forever; life is short and full of miseries, and we shall find our little ones again up above."

聖善雙親                                                                                                                何庭耀



聖女小德蘭 (1873-1897) 是近代最受歡迎的聖人之一;她的雙親是聖類斯.馬定(1823-1894) 及聖薛妮.姬娜 (1831-1877) ,他們在2015年10月18日被教宗方濟宣聖。小德蘭曾寫下:「美善的天主,給了我媲美天地的父母。」
















那些時候,新婚夫婦習慣在寧靜、充滿祈禱氣氛的聖堂內行婚禮,不鋪張、不熱鬧;所以子夜舉行儀式最為適合 ── 特別在週日,領聖體的人又不會多。類斯薛妮,在清靜、莊嚴的燭光下舉行婚禮,在場有他們的至親及數名摯友見證。婚禮完畢,他們乘坐火車到肋萬斯探望薛妮的姊妹瑪利亞.露詩 ── 瑪利亞才進了聖母訪親修院三個月。










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