Zélie Martin, Mother of St Thérèse of Lisieux’s parents would make a great role model for women, but won't be adopted as a feminist icon any time soon

Over at the Herald, I have a piece on Zélie Martin, the French lace-maker who was the mother of St Thérèse. Do pop over to the Herald for the full piece.  Zélie was born in 19th Century France, and married her true-love, Louis who was a watchmaker. It seems obvious to point out that Zélie and Louis were raising a family long before the advent of widely available contraception but Zélie still showed remarkable openness to life, bearing 9 children and bearing sorrow when four died in infancy. Five daughters survived, the youngest of which became the Little Flower.  Zélie was a diligent businesswoman, a team of lace-makers were under her supervision and simultaneously she was a loving mother. 

I think the part of the article that will get some people hot under the collar is where I argue that Zélie should be applauded for persevering to have children. Had she not been so open to life, she may not have had a fifth daughter, St Thérèse, who millions all over the world call on in their hour of need. 


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