Rejoicing with the people of Great Britain that the relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin are now visiting the diocese of Plymouth, I remembered that England knew the joy of the presence of Blessed Louis Martin during his lifetime. About October 2, 1886, he visited Dover with his oldest daughter, Marie, who was preparing to enter the Lisieux Carmel on October 15. Father Pichon, her spiritual director, returning from a mission to Canada, wrote that he would pass through Dover and Calais on October 2, Marie asked Louis to take her to meet him so that she could welcome him home and say good-by before she entered. Louis said “I can’t refuse you anything, my big girl.” The Martins did not find the ship at Calais, so they crossed to Dover, hoping to find Fr. Pichon there.
On that October 2, a Saturday, Therese wrote to Marie from Les Buissonnets:
My dear little Marie,
We just received your telegram. I’m very happy, for I believe this means that you’ve seen Father at Dover. He sent you a letter on Wednesday [this letter was from Dublin, where the ship must have stopped first] which was telling you to go there before him today. You can’t imagine how worried we were. Celine has sent some letters to Dover and Calais “hold still called for.”
Sadly, because of a series of misunderstandings and crossed letters, Louis and Marie did not find P. Pichon at Dover either. Marie was acutely disappointed. Louis, with his customary serenity, said to her “Do not complain, Marie; God saw that you needed this trial. For my part, I am happy to have been His instrument in making this trip with you.” Happily, on their return to France, they found Fr. Pichon at Paris.
May Louis and Zelie be God’s instrument in the pilgrimage their relics are now making in Plymouth!