Louis and Zélie choice

Louis and Zélie questioned themselves about their own religious calling before committing to marriage with equal confidence in God.

For their children, the home that Louis and Zélie made was a special place where they experienced love and the sharing of faith; a house where, in the close warmth of family and domestic life, each gave and each received.

Among all the concerns of their professional lives, both parents were still able to give the children their first lessons in faith, from their very earliest years.  They were the first to introduce the children to prayer, love and the knowledge of God by showing that they themselves prayed, alone and together, and by taking them to mass and to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

They taught them to pray not only by telling them they needed to pray, but by turning their houses into “prayer schools”.  They taught them the importance of staying close to Jesus by listening to the Gospels that speak of Him.  Zélie had asked God for many children “so that they could all be dedicated to Him”.


Every evening, Madame Martin made the older girls pray to St Joseph for a little brother who would one day offer the sacrament and travel to distant lands … (CF 21 13 January 1867).  In their desire to offer to God a priest who would become a missionary, Louis and Zélie were committed to supporting missionary work, and were amongst the first to sign up to Pauline Jaricot’s newly-founded organisation for the propagation of the faith.

Louis accepted in faith his daughters’ vocation, and when Céline entered the Carmelite order on  15th of June 1888, he said, “Let us all go and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament to thank God for the honour He has done me in taking all my children”.

“They so wanted a missionary son!  Had they been able to peer into the future, they would have seen that it was to be through me that their wish would be fulfilled.”  St Therese of the Child Jesus (LT 226 au Père Roulland)