Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus

Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus
Nursing Madonna (wikimedia commons)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

St. Zelie



Zelie Martin by in identified photographer
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons



I recently read the book "The Mother of the Little Flower" by Celine Martin. I had read somewhere that St. Zelie Martin did not nurse her children. This left me curious what her life as a mother was like, especially being an example by raising saints and becoming one herself. I wanted to share some excerpts from the book about her nursing relationship of her children and the illness she died from. 

On page 73-74 it reads:

"What mother felt and complained of was that she could not, herself, nurse any but her first three children. She had to give the others out to be nursed, often at a distance in the country, necessitating very fatiguing journeys for her to visit the children. 

When Therese was born, mother felt an inexpressible joy. Before her birth, she admitted having heard her singing with herself. But soon after her birth, the baby fell ill, and once so seriously that she refused even to take the mother's breast. Mamma watched over her night and day, endeavoring to feed her baby by other means which the doctor ordered."

On page 90 it reads:

"As to myself, I was only eight years old when my mother, at my request, showed me the sore; I have always kept an unforgettable memory of it. All the upper part of the right side of her breast as far as the shoulder and the base of the neck was bright red with inflammation, while darker red streaks ran through it, up and down." 

With other descriptions given in the book (such as fever, painful swelling, discharge, etc) it seriously made me wonder if she may have had a breast infection such as mastitis which spread. A quick online search revealed "Non Lactational Mastitis", which can occur in women who are not longer nursing. Although, the books does make note of some injury with a table as a child, and also mentions cancer.

From the description of the property in the back of the book, it sounds like she worked on the same property as she lived. One could naturally assume this left her very accessible to the children who were living at home. A recurring theme in the book is how St. Zelie was completely selfless by always putting her family first and patiently enduring trials. There are many tidbits that are very relatable to the daily life of mothers. 

The book is a quick read and encouraging for mothers who are striving to raise saintly children. There is also a companion book on St. Therese's father, St. Louis Martin. 

Written by Andrea Nease

No comments:

Post a Comment