2018 would mark the 160th wedding anniversary of Saints Louis & Zelie Martin, devoted spouses and parents of our beloved Little Flower and her holy sisters.
To honor this anniversary, Bishop Jacques Habert of Seez has declared a jubilee year for pilgrims traveling to the Sanctuary located in the Martin’s home town of Alencon, opening on July 7-8, 2018 and closing on July 13-14, 2019. Special graces and a plenary indulgence will be tied to making this pilgrimage in their honor.
When asked the question, “why a jubilee at Alencon?” the rector of the Shrine of Alencon, Father Jean-Marie Simar, responded by paying particular attention to the extraordinary witness of Louis & Zelie’s marriage and family. “Saints Louis and Zelie Martin are an altogether particular example for today’s couples and families: Pope Francis canonized them barely two years ago on October 18, 2015. It’s the first couple to be canonized together in the history of the Church.”
The story of Louis and Zelie is particularly necessary in our present culture. Their marriage was full of faithful, steady, and fruitful love centered in Christ. In our present culture, so riddled with divorce, broken hearts, and broken families, their lives are a beacon of hope.
The promotion of a jubilee year is hoped to bring their witness to the forefront and inspire married Catholics to faithfully live out the call to holiness through their vocation.
There will be special festivities and Masses on the opening weekend of the jubilee, July 7th and 8th.
If you aren’t able to make the opening weekend of the jubilee, don’t worry. Pilgrimages at other times of the year are also already beginning to be formed to honor the jubilee, such as this organized pilgrimage, exploring the Carmelite locations of France.
To receive the plenary indulgence, one must be in a state of grace and interiorly detached from all sin, having made a good confession (within a week of the day of your pilgrimage) and received the Blessed Eucharist. One must furthermore pray for the intentions of the Holy Father and make the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Alencon within the dates of the jubilee year.
Whether or not you make the trek out to Northwestern France, you can honor the marriage of Louis & Zelie Martin in your own way by celebrating its anniversary on July 13th. It falls on a Friday this year – Friday date night, anyone?
Want to know more? If you are fluent in French (or Google translate!) you can read more about the jubilee on the official website.