Genevieve of the Holy Face

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Servant of God
Geneviève of the Holy Face
Celine martin 1-137x180.jpg
Born (1869-04-28)28 April 1869
Alençon, France
Died 25 February 1959(1959-02-25) (aged 89)
Lisieux, France
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church

Marie-Celine Martin was a French Discalced Carmelite nun, and one of the sisters of Saint Therese of Lisieux.[1]



Celine Martin was the seventh child of Louis and Zélie Martin (and their fourth daughter, the penultimate). She was born on April 28, 1869 in Alençon in Normandy, where she spent the first years of her childhood.[2] She was baptized on September 5 in Alençon.

In her autobiography ( Story of a Soul ), Thérèse says that Celine was her favorite sister. Thérèse also indicates that Celine was full of joy, kindness and virtues, and that, very young, they often played together. After the death of their mother, on August 28, 1877, the Martin family moved to Lisieux, where they moved into the villa "Les Buissonnets". Marie, at seventeen, was the oldest daughter, and took care of the family home with the help of a maid.[2] Pauline, for her part, deals with the education of Celine and Thérèse (the youngest).

From 1877 to 1885, Céline studied at the school of the Benedictine convent of Lisieux.[2] She also shows artistic talents. At the convent school she is the "president of the Children of Mary" . During her schooling, she won the first prize almost every year. Among the Martin sisters, she has a particularly close relationship with Thérèse and even becomes her confidante.


In August 1886, Marie, the eldest of the daughters Martin, entered the Carmel of Lisieux ( Pauline entered it four years earlier). In October of the same year, Léonie entered the convent of the Poor Clares. There are only two girls left around Louis Martin: Therese and Céline. The latter, aged seventeen, is then promoted to the head of the house.

In November 1887, Céline participates in a pilgrimage to Rome (diocesan pilgrimage organized on the occasion of the jubilee of Pope Leo XIII ). This pilgrimage unfolds with his sister Thérèse and his father Louis. On the way they go through Paris, then on the return the train ride is made by Switzerland . In Italy they visit Milan, Venice, Bologna and Rome.

In April 1888, Teresa entered Carmel, leaving her sister Celine to take care of their elderly father alone. Celine is also asked to marry at the same time, but she refuses (wishing to enter religion). She tells her father on June 16, but stays with him to accompany him in his old age. Louis Martin declines quickly, and begins to lose his reason. Céline stays with him until his death on July 29, 1894.

Entrance to the convent[edit]

After the death of her father, having settled family succession matters, Céline enters the Carmel of Lisieux on September 14, 1894. She is 25 years old. She joins her sisters Pauline, Marie and Thérèse who entered before her. While she is a novice, she chooses Sister Marie of the Holy Face as her nun, but when she takes her habit on February 5, 1895she opts for Sister Geneviève de Sainte Thérèse and the Holy Face. The February 24, 1896she makes her profession and takes the name of Genevieve of the Holy Face . During her training at Carmel, it was her younger sister, Thérèse, who was the novice mistress, Thérèse thus ensures the formation of her eldest: Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face.

At the convent, Céline made some photos and paintings of Thérèse de Lisieux. Celine also designed for Therese images of devotion. After the death of her younger sister, Sister Genevieve takes an active part in spreading the message of Thérèse through writing, photography and the image. In 1952 is published a book of Remembrance Councils and Memories of Sister Genevieve. This book has been translated and reissued several times.

In the decades following Therese's death, Sister Geneviève, the youngest daughter, Martin, remained one of the most important witnesses to the life of Saint Teresa and her doctrine on the "little way" .

In 1956, Céline participated in the diocesan beatification process of her parents Louis and Zélie Martin . On December 12, 1958, Céline is suffering from a strong exhaustion, the doctors detect several pathologies (insufficiency of the myocardium, arrhythmia, with complication of renal deficiency and thrusts of congestion with the lungs). A slow agony will cause it to go out peacefully February 25, 1959. After her death, her body is exposed to the veneration of the faithful until February 27. Her funeral was celebrated on February 28 in the Carmel Church, in the presence of four bishops (including a representative of the Holy See ) and many priests and religious. Her remains are deposited in the vault, under the chapel, with those of two of her sisters: Mother Agnès of Jesus and Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart.


  1. ^ "Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Circular of Sr. Genevieve", Archives du Carmel de Lisieux