Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway
February 14, 2012

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On Valentine's Day 2012 the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel opened the "family photo albums" of the Martin and Guerin families.  This offers you a chance to see many previously unpublished family photos while we wait for the great day, March 19, 2012, the feast of St. Joseph, on which the English Web site of the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel will open.

With wishes for a grace-filled Lent,          

Maureen O'Riordan

The Photo Albums of the Martin and Guerin Families on the Web site of the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel, 2/14/12

Logo of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

On February 14, 2012, the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux opened the photo albums of the Martin and Guerin families.  Click here to see two historic albums. 

Photo of the Guerins and Maudelondes with M. Tostain
From left, Mme. Maudelonde; her sister, Mme. Guerin (standing); their mother, Mme. Fournet; Marguerite Maudelonde-Tostain; Helene Maudelonde; Rene Tostain, an atheist for whom Therese prayed especially; Celine Maudelonde.  The Guerin house on Rue Paul-Banaston, Lisieux, 1893.  Courtesy of the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel.

The first album, here, contains many previously unpublished photographs of the Martin and Guerin families and their friends.  You will see new photos of Celine, Leonie, and the Guerin daughters, and will see friends of the family like the Pigeon ladies and Madame Tifenne, Leonie's godmother. 
 Celine 1894 La MusseCeline, La Musse, 1894, posing for one of the "living tableaux."  Courtesy of the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel.

The second album is a special album of the "eccentric voyage of travelers in the Andes."  It grew out of the summer vacation of Celine and the Guerin family at La Musse in 1894.  On July 17, 1894, only twelve days before the death of Louis Martin, Celine wrote to Therese:

I am going to write you in haste, for these days I do not have time to turn around.  Joseph de Corniere is here, and we are busy doing photography.  We dress up and are making a whole story of travelers in living pictures; it will be very amusing.  In the meanwhile, however, I am beginning to get enough of it.  My days seem insipid to me, no more reading, no time to write, hardly any time to make meditation; we are always on the go. . . I am unhappy . . . not being accustomed to living with boys, it seems strange to me to be spending my days in their company.  As holy and pure and candid as they are, I cannot get used to it."  LC 159 from Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume II (1890-1897), tr. John Clarke, O.C.D.  Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1988, pp. 867-868. 

The Guerin family had invited a seminarian, Joseph de Corniere, son of the Carmel's doctor, who had spent some time in Chile, to spend his summer vacation at La Musse.  As an amusement, he and the other young people (Marie Guerin, Jeanne Guerin, Francis La Neele, and Celine) put on costumes and posed for a series of "living tableaus" on the La Musse estate meant to represent travelers in the Andes.  You can see the photos here.
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