Louis Martin was born at Bordeaux on the 22 August 1823 and was raised in a number of military camps, according as his father was garrisoned.
At the age of 22 years he gave consideration to religious life. He presented himself to the Grand-Saint-Bernard Monastery but was informed that he could not be accepted without knowledge of Latin. The young man then applied himself courageously to the task. For one year he took lessons but eventually he abandoned his ideas of religious life.
He then undertook a course at Paris for three years in order to perfect his knowledge of his trade. While in Paris, he was a regular visitor to the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victories).
In 1850, he set up business as a watchmaker at his parents home in Alençon. His faith remained alive and active. He never opened his shop on Sundays. As for his other interests – long periods spent fishing, a bit of hunting, and social evenings with other young people belonging to the Catholic Circle founded by his friend Vital Romet.
His mother worried that he was still single at the age of 34 years. But while she was learning the technique of Alençon lace stitching, she noticed the young and very gifted Zélie Guérin. The young couple were married on the 13 July 1858.