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The Saint Who Taught Me to Be a Mother

Faith

It started, as life changes often do, with an ugly-cry-in-the-shower session.

Charlie was three months old and we had just returned from spending Christmas with my family on the other side of the country. My mom and I were having a tough time navigating her new role as a grandmother and mine as a mother—I lost track of how many times I spoke harshly to her. I felt isolated from my three younger siblings who were nowhere close to this wildly different season of life I was now in. I was back at work after maternity leave and it was not going well. I hadn’t seen any of my friends since our meal train ended.

Worst of all, I was convinced God had made a terrible mistake by giving me this beautiful child because I was far too weak and unworthy and selfish to be a good mother. Those lies pounded in my heart day in and day out. This massive responsibility of raising a child on top of all the other things I hoped to do well (used to do well) was too much. I couldn’t do it.

It was in the shower one day, where I had run for ten minutes of uninterrupted tears, when God gently pointed me in the right direction. You’re not the first person who has had to figure this out, He whispered to my heart. Look to my daughters who have done it well.

How to celebrate the feast of St. Zelie and St. Louis
Friends, you can find the rest of this post about how I met, got to know, and learned how to be a mother from my beloved friend, St. Zelie Martin, on the Blessed Is She blog today. Sharing my experience of walking with her as I have learned (and continue to learn) to navigate my vocation has been on my heart for over a year, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do so today…on her and her husband’s shared feast day, no less!

Here’s how we’re celebrating St. Zelie and St. Louis today!

Pray: We’re attending Mass as a family and praying the Litany of Saints Louis and Zelie. This Prayer of Spouses and Parents is beautiful too, for a shorter option!

Eat: Post-Mass croissants! I don’t know if the Martins ever actually ate croissants, but I like the idea that maybe they enjoyed them on Sunday afternoons as a family in the same way that many Americans enjoy post-church doughnuts ;) French + family-oriented are good enough reasons to me to enjoy croissants on this special day!

Adorn: I just framed the GORGEOUS watercolor of them, pictured above, by my sweet friend Ali of Saint Script. I had been searching for weeks for a beautiful image of them to no avail (since they’re so recently canonized, there aren’t many options out there yet). Then, Ali posted a sneak peek of this painting and I all but begged her to send me one before they were officially available to order so I could get it in time for today. Thank you, Ali!

I also can’t resist wearing lace today, since Zelie was an Alençon lacemaker. The ways she navigated motherhood and her own creative business pursuits was one of the first things I fell in love with about her.

Do you have a devotion to St. Zelie? I’d love to hear about it below so we can celebrate together! :)

Additional reading:
The Mother of the Little Flower and The Father of the Little Flower (less than $5 each on Kindle!)
About St. Zelie and St. Louis
Calling on Heaven: The Feast of St. Zelie Martin (this post made me cry–so beautiful!)
The Holiness and Example of Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin
12 Things St. Zelie Taught Me About Sainthood as a Mother

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  1. Eileen says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection on Sts. Louis and Zélie and motherhood! Louis and Zélie are the patrons of our eldest child, whose middle name is Martine. Before—and especially after!—she was born, I fretted over the immense responsibilities of motherhood and being the caretakers with my husband for a little soul. How did we deserve this? And how will we survive?! But we did and we do, and I think the intercession of these great, everyday saints has a lot to do with it. Giving our daughter their shared name makes Louis and Zélie so present to me every day. And as the years pass, I fall more deeply in love with their faith and example as they accompany me in my own journey as a mother.

    • Lisa says:

      Eileen, that is so beautiful–thank you for sharing! Louis and Zelie are incredible patrons to us as parents and I love that you chose to name your child for them collectively. I am just starting to learn more about Louis and am so captivated by his faith and leadership of this incredible family!

  2. Allison says:

    While I am not Catholic (Lutheran ELCA), you push me ever harder to love my faith. Not just love Jesus and God, but to love my faith and find joy and trust in it. I’ve even researched if there was art created for the Lutheran faith. :)

  3. Mary says:

    Beautiful! I can’t wait to read the rest. I prayed at their tomb in Lisieux when we were engaged. I love how you’re celebrating today. I love them so much! Random story: I went into a bridal store with another friend who was also engaged while we were on that pilgrimage down the street from St Therese’s convent. I ended up buying my lace-edge veil there! I have no idea if it’s real Alencon lace and the shop manager was super rude to us (haha!) but I like to think St Zelie and St Therese helped me find it!

    • Lisa says:

      That story gives me butterflies (except for the super rude shop manager, haha)! I want to do a Lisieux pilgrimage so badly!

  4. Abbi Hearne says:

    I’m not Catholic, but my goodness this is beautiful. I love your modern devotion to these traditions and honoring them in a real-life way!

    • Lisa says:

      Abbi, I appreciate your kind comments SO much! Thank you for being such a sweet encourager to me!

  5. Dana says:

    Love seeing you be the best mom to Charlie and the Saints encouraging you!

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