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.
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

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        
Carmel de Lisieux    
she owes you, how I also thank you and how fervently she prays to God…”

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
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.” (LOM7)

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.” (LOM11)

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 sisters.
Céline was
the first in line to receive this benefit before she entered school herself. The relationship between
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
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 little
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.” (M)  

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
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                   
 Carmel de Lisieux
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.”(LOM15)

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
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.”

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. (LOM21)  

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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Lower Normandy

January 19, 1940
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July 2, 1869
The Visitation Chapel at
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October 15, 1886
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