Blessed Louis Martin visited Great Britain in 1882

People praying in the presence of the reliquary of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin n the Cathedral at Plymouth, May 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.

People praying in the presence of the reliquary of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin n the Cathedral at Plymouth, May 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.

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 till called for.”

 Sadly, because of a series of misunderstandings and crossed letters, Louis and Marie did not find Father 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!  

Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI declaring Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin blessed

As we approach the first liturgical feast of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin on July 12, 2009, I am happy to present my English translation of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI declaring them blessed and establishing the feast on the anniversary of their wedding.  I had the joy of hearing this letter proclaimed during the Mass of Beatification in the Basilica of St. Therese at Lisieux.





fulfilling the wishes of our brothers
Pierre Auguste Pican, bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux,
and Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Sées,
and the wishes expressed by many Brothers in the Episcopate
and by a multitude of the faithful,
after having consulted the Congregation for the Causes of Saints,
by virtue of our Apostolic Authority,
that the Venerable Servants of God
lay persons, spouses, and parents,
who, strengthened by the sacrament of marriage
and the example of the Family of Nazareth,
have testified to their love for God, for the Virgin Mary,
for the poor, and for the missions,
and consecrated themselves diligently to their children,
among whom we count St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus,
are now to be called Blessed,
and that their feast may be celebrated each year on July 12,
the date of the anniversary of their marriage,
in the place and following the procedures established by law.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s,
October 15 in the year of the Lord 2008,
the fourth year of Our Pontificate.

Benedict XVI, Pope.


translated by Maureen O’Riordan for