Zélie Guérin and Louis Martin, parents of Thérèse
They live in Alencon. Zélie runs a lace workshop with about twenty workers. Louis is a watchmaker and owns a watch and jewelry store. They both had a desire for religious life. They meet and marry in 1858. They will have 9 children, four of whom died in infancy. Thérèse is the youngest of the 5 girls. They were the first couple canonized in 2015.
Marie, the eldest, " My diamond »
Marie, the eldest nicknamed " My diamond by his father Louis Martin. She will be Thérèse's godmother. When Zélie died, she took charge of the family home. She nursed Thérèse during her serious illness and became her confidante during the years 1885-1886 after Pauline's departure for the Carmel. She entered the Carmel after much hesitation at the age of 26 in 1886 and received the name of Sr Marie du Sacré Cœur.
It was she who had the idea of having Thérèse suggest that she write down her childhood memories (Manuscript A), and later she asked Thérèse to write down her “little doctrine”, which would become the Manuscript B.
Pauline, who are " my fine pearl »
When her mother died, Thérèse, 4 years old, chose her as a second mother.
In 1882, Pauline entered the Carmel at the age of 21 and became Sr Agnès of Jesus. His departure from the family home caused great pain to his sister Thérèse who felt “abandoned a second time”. Nevertheless, the two sisters remained in contact by mail, and Pauline prepared Thérèse for her first communion thanks to numerous letters. On May 8, 1884, she made her perpetual vows, at the same time as Thérèse made her first communion.
She was elected prioress on February 20, 1893. She would be prioress several times. In 1923, the pope named her “prioress for life”.
After Thérèse's death, Mother Agnès worked actively on the publication of Thérèse's writings, on the dissemination of her message, on her cause for beatification, on the project for the Basilica of Saint Thérèse in Lisieux. Mother Agnès received many visits from ecclesiastics and various personalities. She maintains a considerable correspondence, and thus becomes “a major element of Thérèse's influence in the world.
Leonie, who are " my poor Leonie »
She is of delicate health, of a difficult character and will cause many problems for her family. As an adult, Léonie was drawn to religious life and made several unsuccessful attempts (Clarisses, Visitation de Caen).
She entered this last monastery definitively in 1899 under the name of Sr Françoise-Thérèse. She is recognized there for her humor, her charity but also and above all for her discretion. His motto is: "smallness makes all my joy". It is also considered to be that of the Martin sisters, who best understood and practiced the "way of spiritual childhood" taught by Thérèse.
Céline, who are " the fearless »
Thérèse confides that Céline was her favorite sister and also indicates that Céline was full of joy, kindness and virtues, and that, when they were little, they often played together. She has a particularly intimate relationship with Thérèse and even becomes her confidante.
Céline will take care of their elderly and seriously ill father alone. After the death of her father, Céline entered the Carmel of Lisieux at the age of 25 and became Sr Geneviève of the Holy Face. It was Thérèse who ensured her formation as a Carmelite.
She shows very young artistic talents. At the convent, she made some photos and paintings of Thérèse of Lisieux. Céline also designed devotional images for Thérèse.
After Thérèse's death, Sister Geneviève took an active part in spreading her message through writing, photography and images, the book Tips and Souvenirs. In the decades that followed, she remained one of the most important witnesses to the life of Saint Thérèse and her doctrine on the “little way”.
In 1956, Céline, aged 85, took part in the diocesan process for the beatification of her parents Louis and Zélie Martin. When she died in 1959, the last living witness of the Martin family disappeared with her.