The "Sanctuaire d'Alencon" (the Shrine of Alencon) launched its new Web site today in French. Later on it will launch in English and in other languages. Since the beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin in 2008 and the reopening of the "Martin family house" (formerly known as the birthplace of St. Therese), a pilgrimage office has been established at Alencon to help the pilgrims find the sites associated with the Martin family and to walk in their footsteps. The site offers photos and information about the sites associated with the life of the Martin family in Alencon; practical information for arranging individual or group pilgrimages; news about special occasions and events; reflections on the spirituality of the Martin family; and more. This will make it easy for pilgrims tracing the footsteps of the Martin family to begin at Alencon, where Zelie and Louis spent their whole married life. Please visit the French site. As soon as the site opens in English, I will post it.
The Martin home on Rue Pont-Neuf in Alencon
To give you a small taste of what is to come, I reproduce at left, courtesy of the Sanctuaire, a rare old photograph that shows the area in back of the house and watch-shop on Rue Pont-Neuf, where Louis and Zelie lived from their marriage in 1858 until 1871. (Louis bought this house in 1850. Before his marriage he had lived here with his parents and his young nephew, Adolphe Leriche). Louis and Zelie spent most of their married life here, and all their children except Therese were born in this house. It is much less well-known than the house on Rue Saint-Blaise, where Zelie had lived as a girl, but where Louis and Zelie and their children lived for only six years). Today an insurance agency occupies the ground-floor space where Louis's watch shop was located on Rue Pont-Neuf. After the Franco-Prussian war, Louis sold the jeweler-watchmaker shop to Adolphe Leriche and devoted himself to handling the business end of Zelie's lacemaking work, and the family moved to Zelie's childhood home on rue Saint-Blaise.