On May 10, 1892, St. Louis Martin was discharged from the Bon Sauveur mental hospital (the "asylum," as it was then called) in Caen, where he had been a patient since February 12, 1889. [See my story about Louis Martin's admission to the Bon Sauveur].
The Bon Sauveur Hospital
Although the Bon Sauveur is still operating today, some of the buildings Louis knew, including the ancient cloister of the Franciscans, were demolished (under protest) a few years ago. Very few good photographs of this big campus in the heart of Caen are available online, and I was delighted to find on FlickR a precious archive of 63 photographs of the various buildings of the Bon Sauveur Hospital, fortunately photographed before the demolition. "Herbaltablet," who has photographed many historic buildings in France, generously gave me permission to use them. Please visit his photo album, which is a visual delight.
Louis Martin's Return to Lisieux
Louis's legs were now paralyzed, and his brother-in-law, Isidore Guerin, had decided it was safe to bring him back to Lisieux. On May 10, 1892, Isidore went to Caen to bring Louis home. Isidore’s daughter, Jeanne Guerin, lived at Caen. Because she was away, we have a precious letter her mother, Celine Guerin, wrote that same day:
Your father went today to Caen to get your uncle. He lunched at your place, and he brought back good M. Martin at four o'clock. The trip went along very well. His morale is as good as it can possibly be, but his limbs can no longer support him. He had to be carried into the carriage. He cried all the time and appears so happy to be among his children.
Read the complete letter at the Web site of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.
Marie Guerin, Louis’s niece, remembered the trip:
“When Papa brought him back from Caen, Uncle was very much moved to see Papa caring for him in this way . . . he began to weep and say “I will repay all this, you will see.”
[Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II, tr. John Clarke, O.C.D. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1988, p. 750. This book, which contains much family correspondence and rich introductions and notes, is a gold mine of information about Louis and the Martin family).
For about six weeks Louis joined the Guerin household, where his daughters Leonie and Celine had been living, before the three Martins moved to a small house nearby. As we continue to trace the events of the Martin family 125 years ago, look for more articles about his last years in Lisieux.