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St. Louis Martin Novena: For depression, anxiety and mental disorders

Louis Martin in his wheelchair in the garden of 7 Rue Labbey, Lisieux. From left, Celine; the Le Juifs, a couple who worked for the Martins here; and Leonie.
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Perhaps due to strokes, the father of St. Therese suffered from a decline in mental state in his later life.

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin maintained a faith-filled household of love and joy, raising five daughters who became nuns, among them St. Therese of Lisieux. Zelie died of breast cancer at age 45, leaving Louis with five daughters aged 4 to 17. He created an ordered and stable life for them, filled with games, prayer, and spiritual reading. In time, though, his mental state began to decline, perhaps caused by strokes, and he would display erratic behavior, sometimes disappearing for days.

His strange behavior and wandering became a problem for the family, ultimately leading them to institutionalize him in Caen, where the Daughters of the Good Savior operated a psychiatric hospital.

Louis and his family met the challenge with faith, believing this was a trial sent to purify them. In a moment of clarity, Louis told a doctor, “I know why the Good God has given me this trial: I have never had any humiliations in my life, and I need to have some.”

Of this time, St. Therese would write,

In Heaven, we shall enjoy dwelling on these dark days of exile. Yet the three years of my Father’s martyrdom seem to me the sweetest and most fruitful of our lives. I would not exchange them for the most sublime ecstasies, and my heart cries out in gratitude for such a priceless treasure: “We have rejoiced for the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us.” Precious and sweet was this bitter cross, and our hearts only breathed out sighs of grateful love. We no longer walked—we ran, we flew along the path of perfection.

Day 1

St. Louis, you knew great happiness and deep despair, and in both you remained strong in faith. Help us to keep God in sight through our trials, even when we cry out with the Psalmist:

How long, O Lord?
Wilt thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 2

St. Louis, along with Zelie you filled your household with such love that it produced saints, but even great piety does not spare us from loss and the sadness that accompanies it. With those who mourn and grieve, we say

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! (Psalm 119)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

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