The Martyrdom of St. Thérèse's Father

A Patron for Mental Health: Blessed Louis Martin
June, 2013 issue of St. Anthony Messenger

Dear little sisters,

Papa is in heaven! ... My poor heart was broken at the supreme moment; a flood of tears bathed his bed.  But at heart I was joyful because of his happiness, after the terrible martyrdom he endured and which we shared with him ...

~ From a letter from Celine Martin to her sisters
    July 29, 1894 - the Feast of St. Martha of Bethany

Not many people know that the father of St. Therese suffered terribly from mental illness during the last five years of his life.  Though the family struggled to work with him, following a particularly difficult episode, an uncle had him committed to a mental hospital for three years.  His legs became paralyzed while at the asylum, and so he was able to return to Lisieux where Celine and Leonie Martin became his primary caretakers for the last two years of his life.  Louis Martin worked hard to accept this cross and during a lucid moment, stated that the experience of humiliation would be good for his soul.

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Some Good Reads on Louis Martin


  1. Thanks Theresa for this part of St. Therese's family story. I recently watched the movie about Leonie! What a treasure that is for all those devoted to the Little Flower.

    Diane in San Antonio

    1. Thanks, Diane ... and Yeah! about the Leonie movie! Where did you see it? I would love to see it too! Blessings, blessings. T.

    2. FYI, the film "Leonie!" is available as a DVD at

    3. Thanks so much, Maureen! I've been looking forward to seeing this movie/DVD! I added the link to it on the Leonie posting:

  2. Wow, interesting! I didn't know this about St. Therese. Thanks for sharing!


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