When I think of Zelie Martin, I think of words like "tenacious," "courage," and "moxie." Here is a woman who suffered many common trials that most of us know all too well--terminal illness, disappointment in shattered dreams, loss of children, the everyday stresses of providing for and caring for her family. Early in her life, she longed so deeply to enter a religious community, but was sent away multiple times. She eventually married Louis Martin and together they had 9 children, 4 of whom they lost at birth or in infancy. While caring for her other 5 children, she owned and operated a lacemaking business. Tragically, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and died from the illness at age 45, when her youngest daughter (St. Therese of Lisieux) was only 4 years old.
Through all of her suffering, Zelie never stopped believing in God's love for her. That takes some bravery, doesn't it? When we encounter trials, we can be tempted to think that God has forgotten us or that maybe we need to jump ship, do something easier, or rely more on ourselves than God. But Zelie knew something that we all need to be reminded of when we encounter any amount of suffering. We must, "Carry on bravely." We must stay the course. We can't leave the battle. And through it, we have to continue to believe that God is not lying to us when He says He loves us and cares for us and only wants what's best for us. We must believe He will see us through and that He already has a plan to bring good out of suffering, even when it seems like the world is crashing down around us.
Zelie's scent profile is a hopeful mix of blood orange, grapefruit and lemon balanced with calming white tea and linen notes and a sandalwood vanilla base. My prayer is that the punchy citrus inspires you to carry on through whatever trial you face, while the cooler elements ground you in the peaceful, ever-present love of Our Father in Heaven, whose eye is on you through it all.