Day Four, July 7: Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin

Rue Saint-Blaise’s house at Alençon : The family home and
Thérèse’s birthplace. Photo by

 Day Four: In Difficulties with Children
“We are God’s fellow workers.” 1 Corinthians 3:9
Speaking on education, Pope Benedict XVI encourages parents and teachers thus: “Continue, therefore, without letting yourselves be discouraged by the difficulties you encounter. The educational relationship is delicate by nature: in fact, it calls into question the freedom of the other who, however gently, is always led to make a decision.”
            Benedict XVI, Address to the participants in the Ecclesial Diocesan Convention of Rome, 6 June 2005
“I know you’ve learned from her aunt in Le Mans of my poor Léonie’s departure from the boarding school. As you can imagine, this upsets me greatly. That doesn’t say it enough. This has caused me profound sorrow, which still continues. […] I believe that only a miracle could change her nature. It’s true, I don’t deserve a miracle, and yet I hope against all hope.
            “The more I see her being difficult, the more I convince myself that God will not permit her to remain that way.”
            Letter of Zélie to her sister-in-law, CF 117
Louis and Zélie Martin teach us always to press on without getting discouraged, whether in our prayer, in the task of education if we are parents, or in our relationships with our neighbors. This is how we too can become “God’s fellow workers.”
Psalm 46
God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress:
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea,
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
God will help it at the dawning of the day.
Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken:
he lifts his voice, the earth shrinks away.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come, consider the works of the Lord,
the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.
He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps.
He burns the shields with fire.
“Be still and know that I am God,
supreme among the nations, supreme on the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Glory to the Father…
Novena Prayer
O God, in Louis and Zélie Martin you have given us an example of holiness lived in marriage.
Look kindly upon the families of our time, and strengthen them with your love;
Let young people find in them the support they need to hear your voice and respond to your call.
Support the sick and the elderly with your power.
Louis and Zélie loved to pray to Notre-Dame des Victoires; through her intercession, we present to you our intention for this novena…
            (period of silence, or state the intention)
Watch over us, and lead us at last into your kingdom of love.
Notre-Dame des Victoires, pray for us.
Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us.
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, pray for us.

Novena translated by Elizabeth and Turner Nevitt from: Neuvaine par l’intercession des bienheureux Louis and Zélie Martin. Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires (Paris). Éditions Salvator: Paris, 2010. Used with permission of Hervé Soubias, rector of the Basilica of Notre-Dame des Victoires, Paris.

Louis and Zélie Martin. A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 1863–1885. Ed. Frances Renda. Trans. Ann Conors Hess. New York: St Paul, 2010. Translation of Correspondance familiale (1863–1885), Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2009.

The Psalms: The Grail Translation. 1963.

The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition. 1966.