Looking for an ideal
Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux in 1823. Son a military man, he spent his first years moving a lot. Then his family finally settled in Alençon where Louis went to school.
He learned about clock-making in Rennes, Strasbourg and Paris. These were decisive years for him during which the desire arose to give his life to God, in the monastery of Grand St Bernard. His difficulty in mastering Latin caused him to abandon this project. He then opened a jeweler’s and clock-making boutique in 1850 at rue du Pont Neuf in Alençon.
Until his wedding in 1858, he shared his time between work, his past-times (in particular fishing), meditation and meeting others. He took part in the circle of Vital Romet, which gathered about 12 young Christian adults around Fr. Hurel and discovered a form of social engagement in the framework at the conference of St. Vincent of Paul.
Time for marriage
His mother who could not accept his celibacy talked to him about Zélie Guérin with whom she was learning lacework. Their first encounter on the Sarthe bridge was to be decisive. Less than a year later they married on 12th July 1858 at 22h in the town hall in Alençon and at midnight on the 13th of July in the church of Notre Dame.
Married life was to last 19 years
It was to be marked by :
- the choice of experiencing continence in marriage
- welcoming of nine children five of whom would live.
The correspondence of Mrs. Martin revealed the profound affection that united the couple.
- Louis’ participation in educating the children
- his professional choice of renouncing his own career to help his wife direct the lace
- making company she had founded .
- the deep faith in the family that made them so aware of those surrounding them. - the repercussions in the religious and social life of the time (it was the end of the Second Empire and the birth of the III Republic…)
- and finally the long ordeal that Madame Martin had to endure ; that of cancer that she died of at the age of 46 on 28th August 1877.
A time of loss
The period as a widower was to begin for Louis which he decided to spend in Lisieux near the Guérins, his wife’s family.
Some letters from this period shows us an attentive father to each one of his daughters and who was ready to accept their choice of entering the order. After Thérèse entered Carmel, he fell ill in 1888 which brought him to Bon Sauveur in Caen.
During times of remission, one could see him taking care of the sick around him.
Paralyzed he was brought back to his family where he died on 29th July 1894 at 71 years old.