Holiness in everyday life
Louis and Zélie questioned their own religious vocation and with equal confidence in God, they committed in marriage.
The home of Louis and Zélie was for their children the best place to experience the love and the transmission of faith. In the home, in the privacy of family warmth and domestic life, each gave and received.
Among their multiple professionals’ worries, the parents were able to communicate early teachings of the faith to their own children, from early childhood.
They were the first teachers in the initiation of their children in prayer, love and knowledge of God, showing they were praying, alone and together, accompanying to Mass and visits to the Blessed -Sacrament.
They taught prayer, not just saying it was necessary to pray but by transforming their homes into “a school of prayer.” They taught how important it was to stay with Jesus, listening to the Gospels that speak of Him.
Zélie had asked God many children “that they are all devoted to him.”
Mrs. Martin was praying every night to her elders claim from St Joseph a little brother who, one day, will offer the host and will go away in a distant land … (CF 21 13 January 1867).
Having the desire to offer to God a priest who would be missionary, Louis and Zélie Martin had at heart to support missionary work.
They were among the first enrolled in the work of spreading the faith that then had just founded Pauline Jaricot.
Louis accepts in faith the vocation of his daughters. At the announcement of the entry of Céline in Carmel, June 15, 1888:
“Come let us go together before the Blessed Sacrament to thank the Lord who does me the honour of taking all of my children.”
“They had long desired a missionary son! If they could penetrate the veil of the future, they would have seen that it was by me that their desire would be fulfilled.” St. Therese of the Child Jesus (LT 226 Father Roulland)
The relationships Zélie has with his staff it says to love him as members of his own family, as with its neighbours and acquaintances always shows us ready to fight injustice, to support those in need. The gospel leads all her actions.
She imagines her relationship with lace workers, suppliers and customers as places of practice of charity. She takes care of its workers, watch over the sick, listens, supports…
At home, the servants of the house are treated like family members: When they are sick, she watches over their health: “The fever not left me for three or four days, Zélie wrote, I had a sore throat and it was necessary, however, that I stand part of the night, to care good.”
“The servants, they must feel that we love them, we must show their sympathy and not be too steep for them …. It is true that I do not treat my servants worse than my children.” CF 29 to his brother “I wish I had orders; it makes me so unhappy to have to send my workers.” CF 150
“If we had wanted to, the sale was concluded, (its trade lace), but I thought I should open the eyes of these people to certain difficulties because they saw while beautiful and it annoyed me …” CF 183
In social life
Rich and various relationships
As storekeepers, employers, Louis and Zélie Martin are in contact with very different people.
Louis participates in pilgrimages to Paris, Chartres … where he meets people from everywhere.
They mix with various sectors of society in which they live. The call for nannies for their children, make them to discover, from the inside, ways of life, both in town and country.
A special attention to the poor
“They are proverbial, openness and the capacity of the Martin family: not only to have an open house and welcome to anyone who knocks on the door, but the heart of the spouses is warm, spacious and ready to give of herself.”
Cardinal Sareiva Martin at the time of their beatification
A strong commitment in the social field
Louis Martin participates in a group that friendship brings together: thirteen men of the Monsort district. They come from various professional backgrounds (craftsmen, traders, teachers, civil servants, liberal professions) and political thoughts (royalists, Republicans)
They were social Catholics involved at the service of the poorest, following Frederic Ozanam. (Conference St Vincent de Paul, founded in 1847 in Alençon). “It is time to show that the Church can plead the cause of the proletariat.” Frederic Ozanam
They were socially committed Catholics following the example of Frédéric Ozanam in the service of the poorest (the Society of St Vincent de Paul, founded in Alençon in 1847). “It is time to show that the Church can plead the cause of the common man.” F. Ozanam.
Louis Martin is also part of the movement founded by Albert de Mun; he was its eleventh subscriber in Alençon. The Catholic social movement helped the working class to organise itself. Vital Romet was one of the promoters of the cooperative movement in Alençon as early as 1876.