Turn to these women, who personally know your heartache.
St. Zelie Martin (lived 1831-1877, France)
I didn’t know much about the story of Zelie Martin before experiencing my miscarriage. The little I did know about her revolved around her more famous daughter, St. Therese of Lisieux. But in addition to the Little Flower, Zelie was the mother to eight other children. Five of her daughters grew up to become religious sisters, but Zelie and her husband Louis also grieved the loss of four children. Three of their children passed away within their first year on earth, and they lost another at age five. Although losing children to miscarriage or an early death was a common experience in the 1800s, the honor and dignity that the Martins gave their children is inspiring.
The Martins often mentioned their children in Heaven during conversation with their living daughters. Even though they passed away before she was born, Therese wrote that her older siblings’ intercession was part of her vocation story and her own journey to Heaven. Shortly after the canonization of Louis and Zelie, an icon was commissioned of the first married couple to be named saints together in modern times. The icon depicts all nine of the Martin children, emphasizing the dignity that Louis and Zelie strove to give every one of their children that God had blessed them with.
After Zelie’s sister-in-law also experienced a miscarriage, Zelie reached out to her through a letter. “When I had to close the eyes of my dear children and bury them, I felt deep sorrow, but I was always resigned to it,” she wrote. “I did not regret the pains and the sorrows which I had endured for them. Many persons said to me: ‘It would have been better for you if you had never had them.’ I could not bear that kind of talk. I do not think that the sorrows and the troubles endured could possibly be compared with the eternal happiness of my children with God. Besides, they are not lost to me forever; life is short and filled with crosses, and we shall find them again in Heaven. Above all, it was on the death of my first child that I felt more deeply the happiness of having a child in Heaven, for God showed me in a noticeable way that He accepted my sacrifice. Through the intercession of my little angel, I received a very extraordinary grace.”
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