In France, in early July, the sanctuaries in Alençon and Lisieux enjoyed intense days celebrating the spouses saints Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese, who were canonized last October by Pope Francis and whose feast was set on 12 July.
In the town of Alençon the greatest moment was the march of the wives and husbands, on 9 July, the opening day for all but with a special emphasis for couples. There were two marches, says the Rector of the Shrine in Alencon, Fr. Jean-Marie Simar, the first, that of the spouses, started from the house of saint Teresita‘s nurse, located in a village near Alençon, and the second, the march of the spouses to Chaumont Butte, where Louis used to go to pray. The couples then met again on Sarthe bridge, where Louis and Zelie met for the first time. During these marches, spiritual accompaniment was proposed, followed by a time of prayer and reflection, with the possibility of writing a letter to one’s spouse and confession. Once at the foot of the Notre-Dame Basilica, now dedicated to Louis and Zelie Martin, the faithful were able to go through the Holy Door and attend the Mass presided by the Bishop of Séez, Mons. Jacques Habert. After the Eucharist, the Bishop gave a conference on apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Yet, the Church does not forget those who are alone or widowed: a special march was also organized for them in the streets of Alençon.
"It was a great success—Fr. Simar said joyfully—; there were more people than expected: 60 couples for the march, approximately twenty participants representing the persons who are alone, and fifty children. In addition, 250 people attended the conference and 500 to the Mass, during which the couples were able to renew their wedding vows." The sanctuary of Alençon was erected on 8 September 2015, shortly before the canonization of spouses Martin. “We are only now beginning to put things into motion, with a good group of volunteers, and the rector is confident. The sanctuary is a bit simpler and smaller than expected, but many people are touched by it family-like character." The sanctuary is already preparing to live another event: the family festival to be held on 29 and 30 October, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the canonization of Louis and Zelie.
The second part of the celebrations took place in the sanctuary of Lisieux, in the form of a Triduum in honor of Saints Louis and Zelie, three days of festivities to be shared in the family, with their daughter St. Teresa of Lisieux. On Sunday, 10 July, Msgr. Habert concelebrated Mass with Mgr. Jean-Claude Boulanger, Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, and Msgr. Michel Guyard, Bishop emeritus of Le Havre. In his homily, Bishop Habert compared the life of the Martin couple and their family with the thought expressed by Pope Francis at the end of the Synod on the Family. In the afternoon, various proposals allowed the faithful to discover the family in different places of the sanctuary in Lisieux: the family home "Les Buissonnets;" the cloister of Mercy, inaugurated and blessed on 1 October 2015, which presents the way in which St. Teresa experienced divine mercy in her life; the Carmel of Lisieux, with the shrine of St. Teresa; and, finally, the wax museum that presents the Martin family life. In addition, in the context of the Year of Mercy, the faithful were led through the Holy Door of the Basilica of Lisieux by Msgr. Habert, Bishop of Séez.
On 11 July 11, the 62th anniversary of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Teresa was celebrated. During a conference, Fr. Olivier Ruffray, Rector of the sanctuary, showed how the building itself illustrates St. Teresa‘s spiritual journey, in response to the call of God‘s merciful love. The highlight of this Triduum was the liturgical feast of the spouses Louis and Zelie Martin, on 12 July. During the homily of the Mass, Fr. Ruffray, presented the couple as beings of desire, who choose to put God first in their lives and who responded to God‘s call through the grace of marriage, lived simply and generously. A time of prayer around saints‘ shrine followed the Mass. The Triduum ended with a lecture by Fr. Silvio Longobardi, chaplain and guardian of the Fraternity of Emmaus, on conjugal love in the light of the lives of saints Louis and Zelie Martin.
Conferenza 9 luglio
Omelia 9 luglio
Omelia 10 luglio