Alençon, a small town in Normandy, 2 hours west of Paris and the Mont Saint Michel, is where Saint Therese grew up, from her small childhood to when the family moved to Lisieux.
This sanctuary is a return to this childhood, as well as about the life of her Blessed parents, Louis and Zelie Martin. Given as an example by the Church and the first to be beatified as a couple, it is in Alençon that their story of love began. During their first meeting on the bridge, Zelie immediately felt that the Lord had saved Louis to be her husband. Later, they would have the joy of welcoming four girls into their family, including Therese. But they also had to cope with much sickness and the loss of 5 children. They would suffer the hardships of the cancer that would kill Zelie and the mental illness that affected Louis in his old age. These difficulties would not keep them from their desire for holiness by putting God in the center of their lives which, with their trust in Divine Providence, would make them exemplary parents and spouses.
In Alençon one can visit the house where Therese was born, Louis’s clockmaker’s shop, the bridge where Zelie and Louis met, and get an understanding of the lacework that was done by Zelie. This sanctuary allows a true meeting with this out-of-the-ordinary couple, as well as with their whole beautiful and holy family. Today, families and many couples wishing to have a child come to Alençon to confide in Zelie and Louis their intentions while they do their Catholic pilgrimage in this shrine of France.