July 12 is the feast day and wedding anniversary of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin. The couple led quiet lives in France in the mid-19th century. Their marriage was rooted in their faith and filled with love —as well as loss.
When they were young, both Louis and Zélie felt called to join religious orders. When those plans did not work out for either, they became entrepreneurs — Louis made watches and Zélie crafted lace.
Louis and Zélie had a “love at first sight” moment when they passed by one another while crossing a bridge. Zélie documented that she heard an interior voice say, “This is the one I’ve prepared for you.” When they later officially met, they married after just three months.
After they married, Louis sold his business so he could partner with his wife’s more successful lacemaking business. In addition to managing a business together, they became the parents of nine children. They learned to grieve together as they experienced the loss of four children in early infancy and childhood.
Zélie died from breast cancer in 1877 after 19 years of marriage. With the help of his extended family, Louis continued to father his five living daughters until his death in 1894. All five daughters became religious sisters. Their youngest, St. Therese of Lisieux, is now a doctor of the Church and widely known for her autobiography, The Story of a Soul. Therese’s work includes reflections on the loving, prayer-centered role her parents played in her and her sisters’ lives. She wrote, “God gave me a father and a mother who were more worthy of heaven than of earth.”
This playlist celebrates the gift of Louis and Zélie’s marriage and the joys and challenges that all married couples experience as they guide one another toward heaven.