Marie Louise Martin was born in Alençon, France on February 22,
1860. Marie was the first-born child of nine children of Louis and
Azélie Martin. Marie was baptized by Father Lebouc at the
Cathedral of Saint Pierre-de-Montsort on February 23, 1860. Her
godfather for her baptismal was her grandfather Isidore Guérin Sr.
and her godmother was her aunt Marie Louise "Élise" Guérin.  

She had a strong and fearless spirit, but her mother always saw the
other side of her “extraordinarily tender heart”. (SR) Marie’s
temperament was straightforward and frank. (M)  Her family’s
nickname for her was “The Gypsy” however, later in life, her
father would also nickname her his beloved “Diamond”.

Each morning, Azélie would make it a habit to rise early to attend
morning Mass. Before participating in Mass she would light a
candle and pray reverently before the statue of Our Lady.  Humble
at heart, Azélie petitioned Our Lady for the children that she and
her husband were given by God, that one day they would become
saints. She would also ask Our Lady for her children to be more
reverence toward God then she was.

Sadly, four of the Martin children would never make it to
adulthood. Azélie gave birth to her fourth child on October 13,
1864, Marie Hélène who passed away on February 22, 1870, at
the age of five. Louis and Azélie were given the blessing of
receiving another child, on September 20, 1866, with the birth
of their first son, Joseph Louis Martin. It was with great sadness
the he too past away a year later on February 14, 1867. On
December 19, 1867 the birth of their second son, Joseph Jean
Baptiste was born. However, he too was taken away from them
on August 25, 1868. The life of Louis and Azélie’s sixth
daughter, Marie Mélanie Thérèse was very short from August
16, 1870 to October 8, 1870. Later, Azélie would remark: “Four
of my children are already in their eternal home, and the others
—yes, the others, will also go to that heavenly kingdom, laden
with more merits, for they will have been longer in the fight.”

Marie's education started at home first where she was taught by
her mother. Once Marie reached 8 years old was when her
parents felt it was time for her to have a formal education. Marie
learned early the value of what her parents spent on her
education. She wrote letters expressing her gratitude for what her
parents gave up financially so that she would have a good
education briefly at the Providence of Alençon. She diligently
tried hard at every subject she was given to show her parents
the benefit of giving her this opportunity. As Marie stated in a
letter on January 1, 1868: “How your little girl is happy to be
able to, at the beginning of this new year, to express the gratitude
for the countless blessings you never stop giving me surrounding
my childhood. Oh, yes, dear father and mother, your beloved
child feels deeply all that she owes you, how I also thank you and
how fervently she prays to God…” (LOM1)                                                                                

In October 1868, Marie entered the Visitation boarding school in
Le Mans, France. Her beloved aunt, Sister Marie-Dosithée, was a
nun who taught at the boarding school. Marie’s aunt would give
Marie spiritual and moral guidance over her life while Marie was a
student. While attending the boarding school, Marie’s aunt Sister
Marie-Dosithée gave both her and
Pauline a pearl to practice their
virtues. Marie was instructed by her aunt to tell her parents the
truth about not doing so well in some of her subjects that she was
learning. But with strong conviction, Marie stated: “I was told that I
was making progress but I know how to analysis verbs and I will tell
you also that I am the second for spelling and I was very close to
being the second for writing but I am in 4th place because I turn my
letters too but I will try to be the first when I do my next
composition.” (LOM3)

A year later in a letter to her parents in January of 1869, Marie
shares her dedication to her parents about learning her lessons:
“I got one for my grammar lesson and that I know my Bible lessons
really well and I have no marks and I hope to be a child of Jesus.  
I'm doing everything I can to get there and to please you…I pray to
the baby Jesus every night to give me the grace to be a child of
Jesus.” (LOM5)

Due to the severe illness of her beloved aunt, Marie’s First Holy
Communion was moved up one year. Marie constantly prayed to
St. Joseph to intercede for her aunt’s cure and was not willing to
accept her death as God’s Will. Instead, she wanted to try and
change it. (M)  On July 2, 1869, Marie’s prayers were answered
and Sister Marie-Dosithée was there to witness her First Holy
Communion. Her aunt lived for 7 more years. It was one of the
happiest days of Marie’s life for she was now in union with
Jesus Christ. When this glorious day was over, she started to
weep that it had all ended too soon. Marie’s mother remarked in
a letter to Sister Marie-Dosithée: “Marie appears to be reserved
and shy; underneath her shyness is a heart of gold.”(SR)  In 1869,
Marie received confirmation and chose the name of Josephine in
gratitude to St. Joseph for his intercession in healing her aunt.
(M)  Marie and her sister
Pauline sang in the Church and her
family always remarked about the beauty of their voices. (SF)                                                    

When Marie received the sad news in a letter that her sister
Mélanie died on October 8, 1870, she couldn’t stop crying. It
was a very sad day for her and she immediately wrote to her
mother to try and comfort her for their great loss.

On July 19, 1870, The Franco-Prussian War began. France declared war on
Prussia and the lower German states then aligned themselves with the North
German Federation. The French military would soon realize that the German
army was far more superior in combat than their French adversaries. As each
battle ensued, French towns in the northern part of France started to fall,
leaving behind massive amounts of wounded and dead. Once the Germans had advanced onto Le Mans
in the latter part of December of 1870, parents from all over the area rushed to retrieve their children
from the Visitation boarding school; Louis and Azélie were no exception.  Marie's mother sought out
several options to retrieve their children but the only option was for them to travel the lengthy road to
Le Mans. It was impossible to go by train because the French army was using it for the war effort.  
Louis set off along the dangerous roads to Le Mans to retrieve his daughters. As Marie describes in a
letter to her uncle Isidore and to her aunt Céline: “Mom told me that since the railways had stopped
running we would come back to Alençon by carriage... My dear uncle, mom told me that you are not
going to war. I'm glad and I pray to the good God that Dad does not leave either.” (LOM6) Louis safely
brought his daughters back home amongst seeing for themselves the spoils of war. Sadly, Le Mans fell
on January 11, 1871. The Germans in turn used the boarding school to house the wounded, which in
some cases, the wounded soldiers transmitted deadly communicable diseases to the local townspeople.

After the fall of Le Mans, the city of Alençon would be no exception. It too fell.  As the German army
advanced onto Alençon, Azélie led all of the children into the root cellar as the bombs started to land
nearby.  Once the smoke cleared and the town officially surrendered, the Germans then forced each
French family to house a number of German soldiers. The Martin family housed nine German soldiers
on the bottom floor of their house during their occupation, which then lasted until May 10, 1871. After
the occupation, both
Pauline and Marie returned to the Visitation boarding school in Le Mans.

It pained Marie from being separated from her parents for such a long time. She held so much reverence
towards them, that being without them became at times unbearable. But as conflicting as it may be, she
did not want to leave the Visitation boarding school either because she would rarely see her aunt. As she
states in her letter to her parents on January 21, 1872: “I will tell you that I am no longer sad now
because I try not to think too much about Alençon, because the thought of being away from you makes
me sad, though it also hurts me to leave the Visitation because I would never get to see my aunt, but if
she was not a religious and could come to stay with us I would be very happy ... It is true that I must do
my education and I know that the Visitation is one of the best but it’s hard being so far from you both.”

On January 4, 1873, when her youngest sister
Thérèse was baptized, Marie became her godmother.
Later this same year, Marie contracted typhoid fever and was sent home from the Visitation boarding
school as a result. She suffered a long illness with many relapses yet soon recovered. Her parents kept a
vigil over her while she was suffering from this illness. On May 5, 1873, after two to three weeks of
Marie’s continued suffering, her father made an eighteen-mile pilgrimage on foot to Church. Her father
prayed and fasted for Marie’s cure in a valiant effort to save her life. During this time of Marie’s illness,
her mother said: “You would one day take care of your younger sisters and the house after I die." (SR)

In late May of 1873, Marie’s symptoms to her illness had subsided temporarily and she thought she was
finally healed but it would take a few more months where she was completely healed. She took the time
in May to write to her sister
Pauline, who was still at the Visitation boarding school. Marie wrote: “I am
happy to write to you a little letter today because I know you'll be glad. I will tell you that I am healed
and that I am not angry because I assure you I was bored a lot in bed. This morning I got up earlier than
the other days that I spent in bed because I went to the eight o'clock Mass. I would have wanted to go to
the Pavilion but our mother thought it was too far, and I did not go. I am eagerly waiting for your
vacation because I am delighted to see you if you only knew! We will also have lots of fun because we
will be going by carriage to see the wet nurse taking care of
Thérèse; we shall gather large daisies and
cornflowers as it will be fun for my little
Pauline! (LOM9)

In October 1874, this was the start of the last semester that Marie had at the Visitation boarding school
before she graduated. Marie knew that she would miss her time at school because of the fond memories
she had while being there especially with her aunt Sister Marie-Dosithée. Marie expressed her feelings in
a letter to her uncle Isidore and aunt Céline on December 25, 1874: “Yet I hardly dare desire this
semester, as it will also see the end of my life as a boarder and it will not without sorrow that I leave my
aunt and the Visitation where I am as committed now. Finally we have to finish everything and avoid
having to later regret the time I have spent in the convent well I'll try to use whatever I have left.”

On August 2, 1875, Marie completed her studies. She made the Honor List several times and was
awarded six first place prizes such as the “Cross of Excellence” during her years at the Visitation boarding
school. Marie reflected upon her experience at this school: “Oh if I had not had my aunt, whom I did not
want to hurt, I should have never had remained seven years behind those grilles.” (SR)  When Marie
returned home for good, her mother wrote to Sister Marie-Dosithée: “Marie is now grown up; her
character is of a very serious cast and she has none of the illusions of youth. I am sure that when I am no
longer here she will make a good mistress of the home, and do her utmost to bring up her little sisters and
set a good example.” (SF)  After completing her studies Marie would return periodically for spiritual
retreats at the school. (LM)  

Marie knew when she left the Visitation boarding school that one of her roles would be to educate her little
Céline was the first in line to receive this benefit before she entered school herself. The relationship
Céline and Thérèse was very close, they were great companions, and what one wanted to do the
other followed. Education was no exception and Marie described in a letter about
Thérèse’s eagerness to
learn after seeing
Céline being taught by her: “The time will advance that I will have to take care of Céline,
for it is I who am responsible for educating. She is still too young and too delicate to go to school, and I
assure you I am happy and very proud of my mission. She knows how to read and write fairly. Now she
learns a little catechism and Bible history, it amuses me to show her a lot; it's a real distraction for me when
it is not bad. But too often,
Thérèse by her presence disturbs our serious studies. She enters, quietly, in my
room to give pleasure to overthrow my ink or my feather, seized the books that come to hand, and then
runs away like a little thief. When she returns, it is to tease her sister by repeating a small mocking voice
every word that poor
Céline learns with so much pain. Finally, she is a pretty pixie, our baby. This comical
Thérèse is nice, malignant, and cute all at once.” (LOM12)

Marie’s mother Azélie brought up the subject of marriage to her and it upset her greatly. Marie remarked to
her mother that: “She would never marry, and begged her mother not bring up the subject of marriage again.”

One of the most special events during the holidays was Christmas. Each year, their shoes would be aligned
against the fireplace where on Christmas day the girls would find special treats left for them. On December
25, 1875, Marie watched
Céline and Thérèse come down and search for their presents hidden in their shoes.
They saw many treats in the shoes but when
Thérèse spotted the doll all of the treats became secondary. As
Marie described the ritual: “On Christmas morning, still asleep, they came down in night gowns, not caring
about anything but running like two little crazies through the house looking for their little shoes. They finally
ended up finding them all lined up in front of the fireplace. There were at least half a dozen, slippers, boots,
rubbers, it was all full of bags of candy, small sugar cubes, and little Jesus cookies! But what seemed the
funniest was seeing the beautiful dolls out of these boots and patiently awaiting the arrival of their mothers.
This is also what was the funniest, was when
Thérèse saw the famous doll she threw everything aside to fly
to it. Unfortunately, her feelings of happiness did not last and after knowing her lovely daughter, she starts to
move away. Two days later, annoyed to see that her doll was not working fast enough, she broke the tips of
both feet, one arm is already removed and soon, I think it will be over for this poor doll. But I'm wrong, when
it is completely dead; it will be her burial, and really, the funeral of a doll, now that's funny.
Thérèse has
already gone through more than one experience with having a funeral for her dolls.” (LOM13)

In the latter part of 1875,
Thérèse showed an interest in learning to Marie. So without any thought to Thérèse
understanding what Marie asked her to do in regards to learning the alphabet, Marie choose random words for
her to learn. The next day, Marie had her read to her and to her amazement;
Thérèse read each word correctly
without any mistakes.  Marie said: “I think in six months, she will read fluently, because she has an extremely
precocious intelligence.” (LOM14)

In the summer of 1876, Marie made a retreat to the Visitation boarding school where she was once taught.
She describes in a letter to her aunt Céline her enthusiasm of the experience she had during her retreat: “The
solitary retreat that I want to talk about is the Visitation. Oh! It is a charming retreat that which I found made
me so happy that I almost wanted to stay there. The retreat was so enjoyable, I would gladly do one every
month if possible… I am really not one of those people who see everything in black inside a convent; I see it
all in pink. But do I not let you think I want to be a religious, because it is not at all my intention. To be
locked forever in a cloister it must be a little sad, but to be locked for a few days it makes me totally happy.
The good nuns took very good care of us! They lent us their cells so that we could do a better retreat,
because you have to be alone for a good retreat. This is not what I liked best; sometimes I did not know
what to do in my cell. Always thinking of the good God, death and judgment, it's a bit serious. . . But I
was annoyed when I said goodbye to my loneliness and I walked the cloisters by reading the fine sentences
that are written on the walls of the monastery. And then I returned to my cell. My aunt visited me quite
often during short visits that were allowed. I was happy to see my good aunt, I love her more than ever, as
I have wept on leaving, it seemed to me that I never would see her again, she is so unwell. Finally I hope
that God will leave us some time and I'll see her next year during my next retreat.” (LOM15) While on
retreat, Marie met a Jesuit priest who gave them instructions. She liked him very much, “he looks like a
saint, and he is one of course, also I really like the Jesuits since I know them there. All the former students
have been seeking direction; there are some who found it a bit harsh, I found it myself totally to my ideal.”

Our Lady played an important part in the Martin family home. They prayed to God for her to intercede on
His behalf countless times. They honored her religiously in their home. As Marie describes in May 1877:
“For me I find it rather resembles a chapel (the room they set aside for Mary). My month of Mary is so
pretty that it competes with that of Notre Dame. This is quite a business of arranging the month of Mary at
home, mom is too difficult, more difficult than the Blessed Virgin! She needs white thorns that rise to the
ceiling, walls covered with greenery, etc…” (LOM16)

Marie, her mom,
Pauline and Léonie went on their last spiritual pilgrimage together to ask Our Lady of
Lourdes to cure their mother’s breast cancer. But it was not to be. Her mother’s breast cancer was not cured
and Marie made a promise to her mother before she died, that she would rear her younger sisters. Her mother
told her to: “Continue to devote yourself increasingly to your sisters. Take care that in watching you, they
have a good model to imitate.”(SF)  

On July 28, 1877, Marie writes to her aunt Céline Guérin about the condition of her mother
Azélie. She starts
in the letter wishing to give her good news about her mother’s condition but sad to say she wasn’t able to.
Her mother was only getting worse. Marie describes taking her mother to church:  “Since the beginning of the
week, Mom was sicker. Sunday, she still wanted to go to the first Mass, but it took courage and heroic efforts
to get her to the church. Every step she took a sharp pain resounded in her neck, sometimes she had to stop …
When I saw her so weak, I begged her to go home, but she wanted to go to the end, believing that this pain
was going to subside and it did not happen, rather, she had great difficulty in returning to church, as she does
not want to repeat such imprudence.” (LOM17) The suffering of her mother took an undying toll on Marie,
she herself suffered from sleep deprivation, she was afraid to leave her mother’s side for one minute and she
wasn’t able to have that alone time she so valued with her mother.  Marie describes the delicate care she took
in taking care of her mother: “Yesterday our poor mother spent a very sad night. Louise stayed up for two
hours. I would have liked to do it myself but I was denied. I have not slept better for it, the thought of seeing
mom suffer so deprived me of sleep. Finally, about three o'clock, I had my turn at the sad consolation of going
to treat her. Oh! If I could only spend the nights with her, it would be a great relief for me. I don’t want to
leave her for a moment, Oh! She does not tire of me, I am sure! I regret to see the Sisters of Mercy come here.
There must come a night for this and I'm not going to be alone with my poor little mother. It's so sad to see her
taken care of by strangers, I cannot stand it, and I think it's cowardly and ungrateful. But yet they must and I
know it is not ungrateful; it is not enough at all. Despite the good will that I try to help Louise, she is worn out
with fatigue at the end of the day. But we must also say that this poor girl treats mom with great dedication
and patience, not to mention her strengths and that if she had behaved badly to Leonie she tries thereby to
forgive them.” (LOM17)

On August 9, 1877, Marie describes the pain her mother suffered from her illness: “Last night she suffered as
she said aloud: "Oh! My God, you see that my strength fails me to suffer, have mercy on me! Since I must
stay here in this bed of pain without being able to relieve myself, I beg you do not abandon me! “Sometimes
she cries, she looks at us all one after the other and then she told us: "Ah! My poor children, I cannot go for
a walk, I who wanted to make you so happy! My
Pauline, I, who wanted to give so much pleasure to you
during the holidays. So I must leave it there, or so it without me! My girls if I could go with you, say, that we
would be happy! (LOM18) Marie’s father took them all out for a walk, regrettably Marie and
Pauline had the
worst time of it knowing that their mother was at home suffering especially with the thoughts that their
mother might die before they came back home.  Marie wrestled with the impending death of her mother
and the difficulties of dealing with her sister
Léonie, nothing was working in her favor.   Marie describes to
her aunt:  “You told me, my dear aunt, to give you news about
Léonie when I write to you. I assure you it
is very embarrassing for me. I would not always give you the wrong and only give you the good? ... I do
not know how to go about it with this poor child. I kiss her, I told her I love her to win her heart, I promise
her rewards if she wants to correct her behavior, especially now that mom can no longer care for her, I
would like so that she listens to me! But no, she wants nothing to do with what I said. Often I remember
crying because I have two such big sorrows: Mom's illness and
Léonie, my courage that escapes me
sometimes. . .Mom is sorry as I never saw so much that she cried all day Saturday due to
Léonie. She
wondered anxiously what she believes will become of her …She said in a tone so anxious that I will never
forget: "Who will care for the poor child (
Léonie) when I am gone, who will provide her the devotion of a
mother?. . . ‘I said: ‘O mother, what will I promise you!’But I hope more for the protection of my
sainted mother in my feeble efforts to complete from heaven, to turn my poor little sister . . .” (LOM18)

Knowing well enough that her mother wasn’t going to live to see her two youngest daughters
Céline and
Thérèse graduate from school, Marie and Pauline decided to put on a ‘mock graduation ceremony’ for their
mother’s benefit. A couple weeks prior to her death, a ceremony was held where
Céline and Thérèse
received their rewards for their merits in their education. Marie and Pauline were the teachers and Louis and
Azélie were the presidents of the ‘boarding school.’  Louis and Azélie distributed the awards to both of their
daughters. The ceremony made everyone forget for a short time the crosses each one of them was bearing.
“Yes, the holidays have begun, alas! Yet sad holidays because of our dear mother who is so sick.” (LOM18)

Marie updates her aunt Céline on the condition of her mother. On the 25th of August 1877, she tells her aunt
that her mom’s condition is much worse. Azélie is no longer able to sleep comfortably and she is in so much
pain that not even the medication she is given is relieving her symptoms anymore.  Marie describes what she
witnessed:  “For two days she is less excited, her sufferings are less vivid, less acute than at the beginning of
the week, Monday and Tuesday because no one knew what was going to happen. Her sufferings were
terrible, we could not relieve her pain and no remedy has been able to calm her. Suffering from the sharp
pain has made her extremely weak. We do not hear her moaning anymore, she does not have the strength,
and she barely can be heard talking. It is only movement of her lips that we can understand what she says.
She was weak yesterday, but today is even worse. That night, she had a hemorrhage, which further increased
her weakness. Dad was up all night and was well-tormented. Fortunately the bleeding did not last long; it
seems it's so dangerous! She suffers much less, it's true, but her weakness , It scares me, when she sleeps,
she looks like she is no longer alive, it made an extreme impression upon me.” (LOM19)

Marie’s father Louis told Marie on the 26th of August to send a message to her aunt and uncle and have them
come as soon as possible before she died. Azélie’s legs have swollen as well as her arms.

Marie was seventeen when her mother Azélie died on August 28, 1877. As Azélie’s body was viewed by
family and friends, Marie felt drawn to be near her mother several times and said:  “I never got tired of
looking at her, she seemed to be but twenty years old. I thought that she was beautiful. I felt a supernatural
impression as I stood beside her. It struck me, which was quite true, that she was not dead, but more alive
than ever.” (SR)  Marie's mother burial was on August 29, 1877.

Marie was excited about her father making the final decision about moving to Lisieux, honoring a plea from
his wife, to live closer to her relatives Isidore and Céline Guérin. Marie felt that it wasn’t without God’s
intervention that Louis decided to make the move. Marie describes her father’s demeanor: “Dad is
completely resolved; it is of course the good God who has inspired, because nothing can shake his resolution.
For us, especially to me, he said he would make every possible sacrifice, he would sacrifice his own
happiness, his life if necessary to make us happy, he will stop at nothing, and he does not hesitate in a
moment. He believes it is his duty to all and well and that sufficed. I am really touched by such devotion.

The family moved from Alençon to Lisieux in November 1877 to be closer to their mother’s relatives. The
family named the new house “Les Buissonnets” meaning “The Woods”. As Marie was making the transition
from Alençon to Lisieux she described her new situation thus: “We are finally settled in Lisieux in a home
charmingly situated with a large garden wherein her younger sisters can play their games” (CW)  The whole
family continued to participate in acts of charity to the needy when they moved to Lisieux. Beggars would
come to their house and ask for food, clothing and money and the family continually offered their services
to the poor. Not only did people come to their house but the family also to those who were unable to leave
their houses. Marie reflected on these acts of charity: “How I desire to save souls! But for this, one must be
holy, for only the saints have power over His Heart.”

As Marie promised her mother, she took over the duties as mistress of the household and helped her aunt
with their store’s accounts while the younger sisters were attending school.  While Louis was wrapping up
the lace-making business, Marie would accompany her father on many trips to Paris. Outside of visiting
shrines like the Cathedral of Notre Dame, they would find time to visit other tourist monuments as well. In
a letter to her aunt Céline in the summer of 1878, she states: “Must tell you my impressions of Paris? You
know them already. In the presence of so many wonders, I remain dazed, dazzled, amazed, it feels like the
time to be happy if there were fairies yet. . . But also what noise, what whirlwind, what a chaos that this
great Paris has, it's good to spend some time there but I always seem to remain tired.” (LOM22) Marie and
her family would make several pilgrimages to holy sites in France throughout their childhood.

Marie supervised her sisters’ upbringing and set a good example for her sisters to follow, “she took constant
and tender care of her youngest sister.” (LM)   Marie made an offering to God that her younger sisters would
serve only Him. She taught them how to listen to his teachings, and how to allow oneself to be spiritually open
to His will which he has placed before his children. (SS)  Her youngest sister remarked: “Marie was so eloquent
that her noble and generous spirit seemed to pass into mine…. I loved her so deeply that I could not bear to be
deprived of her gentle companionship.” (M)  Marie’s youngest sister looking back in retrospect said: “I felt
that both you (
Pauline) and Marie were the most tender and self-sacrificing of mothers.” (SS)   Marie would
rely constantly on her holy mother’s intercession from heaven in helping her rear her sisters as she wrote to
her father: “I am hoping more from the protection of my holy mother than from my own poor efforts, to
complete from on high the transformation of my poor  sisters.” (GV)  She would use examples of everyday life
to illustrate to her younger sisters the virtues of living a Christ-like life. For example, Marie would say: “Look
at the shopkeepers, how much trouble they give themselves to make money, whereas we can amass treasures
for Heaven at every instant without giving ourselves so much trouble; all we have to do is gather diamonds
with a RAKE.” (CL)  Marie would also sit her younger sisters
Céline and Thérèse on her knee and read to
them spiritual books and instructions, making an effort to embed in their souls the comfort of living in God’s
love. (CW)  Marie continued to show her younger sisters how one could achieve sanctity by being faithful in
the smallest matters. Marie’s youngest sister described Marie and her teachings: “It seems to me all her great
and generous spirit…passed into mine. As the warriors of old taught their children the art of fighting, so she
taught me about the combats of life, rousing my enthusiasm and pointing out to me the glorious palm.  Marie
also spoke of the immortal riches that we could so easily amass each day, about the misfortune of trampling
them beneath our feet when we have only, as it were, to stoop to gather them. I regretted being the only one
to hear her profound teachings; I was convinced even the greatest sinners would have been converted by
listening to her, and that leaving their perishable riches, they would have sought only those of heaven.” (M)  
She taught her younger sisters the “self-mastery and the supernatural spirit of sacrifice. Attractive comparisons
clothed the austerity of the divine requirements and led to these being welcomed without causing fright.” (MF)  
Marie also used stories to interest her younger sisters in saving souls. (SF)  Marie had a “mother’s heart” and it
was felt by all of her younger sisters. (SR)  She would explain to them that the way of becoming holy is by
fidelity in little things. (SR) Marie received a premonition that God would always carry her youngest sister like
a baby rather than make her tread the path of suffering. (SS)  

Marie’s sister
Pauline frequently took trips to Le Mans to the Visitation monastery where she once attended
school there. She spoke to the Superior about entering the convent while she was there. In a letter Marie
wrote dated on the 1st of December 1880, Marie was expecting
Pauline to tell her how it went with the
Superior.  But she had to wait until
Pauline came back home to Lisieux. It was somewhat of a secret
between Marie and
Pauline as they did not want to alarm any of the family members of her impending
desires to enter the Visitation monastery. As Marie describes: “On seeing your letter this morning I figured
that you would have written me when you got back from Le Mans so I expected also to find news about
this trip that you desired (entering the monastery), but that's for later, you can tell me all about this when
you come back. I look forward ... How many things you have to say: We will still have time in the evening
to talk and that's what upsets me because it gives you a headache. (LOM23)

In July 1881, Marie’s father returns home with a little present for
Thérèse. Marie writes to her sister
Pauline and tells her what he got her. A magpie! Louis got the bird from Eugène Taillé and bought a
squirrel cage for it which resembled more like a doll house. She told
Pauline that Thérèse watches over it
like a mother watches over a child in the cradle. She gazes at the bird for hours.

Pauline, the second oldest of the Martin children, entered the Carmelite Monastery in Lisieux on
October of 1882,  Marie took full control of her younger sisters education, not only on spiritual matters
but on basic school education as well.  She would unite herself with her younger sisters and pray with
them before they went to bed. She had a generous and loving heart towards them.

Written by: R. Hann
Revised by: Sr. Michael Marie, O.C.D.
Revised by: Sr. Mary Jeanne, O.C.D.


Abbé Combes, ed. Collected Letters Of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux . (CL)
New York: Sheed & Ward, 1949.
Baudouin-Croix, Marie. Léonie Martin : A Difficult Life. (LM)
Dublin : Veritas Publications, 1993.
Beevers, John, trans. The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Story of a Soul.  (SS)
New York: Doubleday, 1957.  
Clarke, John, trans. St.Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Last Conversations. (LC)
Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1977.
Dolan, Albert H. Rev.. Collected Little Flower Works. Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1929.
---. The Little Flower’s Mother. Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1929. (CW)
---. God Made The Violet Too: Life of Léonie, Sister of St. Thérèse. (GV)
Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1948.
Martin, Celine. My Sister St.Thérèse Trans: The Carmelite Sisters of New York. (MST)
Rockford, Ill.: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1959.
Mother Agnes of Jesus. Marie, Sister of St. Thérèse. Ed. Rev. Albert H. Dolan, O.Carm.
Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1943. (M)
Piat, Stéphanie Fr. The Story Of A Family: The Home of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. (SF)
Trans: Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey. Rockford, Ill.: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1948.
---. CÉLINE: Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face. Trans: The Carmelite Sisters of the Eucharist of Colchester, Conn. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997. (C)
Redmond, Paulinus Rev. Louis and Zélie Martin: The Seed and the Root of the Little Flower   London: Quiller Press Limited, 1995. (SR)  
Sr Marie of the Sacred Heart correspondence, (LOM)
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Venerated at:                   

First Holy

into the monastery:            

February 22, 1860
Lower Normandy

January 19, 1940
Lower Normandy

Carmelite Monastery
in Lisieux

July 2, 1869
The Visitation Chapel at
the Visitation monastery
in Le Mans

October 15, 1886
Carmelite Monastery in

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