More from the book, "Our Lady of the Smile". Here we have a little glimpse of their family prayer life and a little from the devotions of the mother and the father. How we need to imitate this family - prayer is so needed in the home.
The life of St. Therese of course was built on a need for prayer throughout the day. As stated in the previous posts, her mother and father had once wanted to give their lives to God as a religious but it was God’s will that they be married in order to be a great witness to the world on family life.
Every evening the night prayers were recited before the statue of Our Lady; and the children were taught to say their morning prayers kneeling before their Mother and Patroness. Frequently, the fingers or the hands had to be replaced – the statue was only plaster – as there were accidents when the children kissed the hands of their Heavenly Mother.
For the month of May each year a kind of shrine with candles, plants and flowers were erected. The eldest girl, Marie, as she was getting older, was in charge of the decorations. She wrote to her cousin: “My month of May decorations at home rival those of the Cathedral; at least I think so. It is a whole day’s work to fix them up. Mamma is more difficult to please than the Blessed Virgin. We must have flowers and white-thorn blossoms up to the ceiling, and all kind of greenery for the background. Little Therese is delighted and claps her hands for joy. Etc.” Later on within her cloister walls, Therese wrote:
“I loved from dawn of infant days, Mary and Joseph oft to praise.”
St. Therese’s mother, Zelie’s, devotion to Mary:
She continually communicated her love for Our Lady to others. Her brother, Isidore Guerin, was a medical student at Paris, and like those in academia, he was negligent and even disdainful about the practice of his religion. His sister pleaded with him by letter….
“If you would only consent to do one thing I am going to ask of you, and which you may well give me for a New Year’s gift, I should be happier than if you sent me all of Paris. Here it is: You live close to Our Lady of Victories - very well! Go in, just once a day, to say an Ave Maria to Her. You will see that She will protect you in a quite particular way, that she will make you succeed in this world and give you an eternity of happiness hereafter. What I am saying to you is not just an exaggerated and unfounded pious statement on my part. I have good reason to trust in Our Lady. I have received graces from Her of which I alone know.”
Isidore did not like this show of piety, but to please his sister who wished a special favor – he did not suspect it was his own conversion – he went “to light a candle for her at the Shrine” from time to time. The request was repeated tactfully and perseveringly until he felt himself that it did him good, too. On his return home from his studies, he made a very suitable marriage and opened a pharmacy at Lisieux which was frequently visited by St. Therese and her sisters. As he advanced in years, he became editor of a local newspaper, and showed himself a valiant leader of the Catholic cause, not alone in Lisieux but all over Normandy. He drew inspiration and courage from his devotion to Our Lady of Victories.
Devotion to Our Lady by Louis Martin, Therese’s Father
The devotion of Louis Martin, the father of St. Therese, to the Blessed Virgin was as deep and demonstrative as that of Zelie but naturally more masculine. He visited all Her shrines around Normandy, and the most famous ones in Europe. In his pilgrimages there was nothing of the curiosity of the tourist, and there was none of our modern conveniences.
After the Franco-Prussian war, a national pilgrimage was organized to Our Lady of Chartes. He was one of those who encouraged it, and participated in the all-night vigil of Masses of reparation and prayer for the salvation of France. Several times he went to Lourdes and was always one of the most devoted and charitable to the sick pilgrims. Once he brought back a large piece of rock from Massabielle, where the Blessed Virgin had appeared to St. Bernadette. When some ridiculed him for his simple faith he told them that those who did not believe in God and His Blessed Mother were much more to be pitied.
When in Paris, he would visit Our Lady of Victories and once in a letter to Zelie he wrote: “I had the joy of going to Mass and Communion at Our Lady of Victories. It is a little earthly paradise. I always light a candle there for the intentions of the whole family.”
May Our Lady pray for all Catholic Families!
St. Therese Pray for us!
St. Zelie and St. Louis Pray for us!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!