Marthe Robin was born on March 13, 1902, in Chateauneuf de Galaure, France. In May 1918 she began to experience painful headaches. As Marthe’s illness progressed, her spiritual life blossomed. On Oct. 15, 1925, Marthe felt inspired to make an “Act of Abandonment to the Love and the Will of God.”
In October 1926 Marthe spent three weeks in a coma. She experienced three apparitions of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The saint revealed to her that she would not die yet, but recover and extend her mission throughout the entire world.
Suffered with Christ
On March 25, 1928, Marthe’s legs became completely paralyzed. Henceforth she was bedridden for life. From 1928 to 1981 she experienced the grace of total abstinence from all food and drink, and she did not consume anything except Holy Communion. In addition to her absolute fast, she entirely ceased to sleep.
On Feb. 2, 1929, Marthe lost the use of her hands, which she had offered to the Lord. She learned to write with a pencil in her mouth. She remained in an uncomfortable and unchangeable position, without drinking, without eating, and without sleeping, for more than 50 years.
Towards the end of September 1930, Jesus appeared to Marthe and asked her, “Do you wish to be like Me?” Marthe consented to the request of Jesus.
In early October Jesus appeared to her and gave her the stigmata. She bled from her hands, her feet, and her heart. Later Jesus imprinted His crown of thorns on Marthe’s head. On the Friday after receiving the stigmata, she began to relive the Passion of Jesus.
People started coming to see her. The apostolate of welcoming visitors would continue for 50 years, until the end of her life. A visitor would wait in the kitchen in the company of Marthe’s mother, then enter her room and chat with her. Marthe would send the gifts given to her by visitors to the poor and to missionaries.
Marthe suffered in her body. She suffered great physical pain each time the bed linen had to be changed. She suffered in her heart to see that her parents were tormented by not being able to do anything for her. Above all, she suffered in her soul because of the sinfulness and lukewarmness of mankind.
Every week Marthe relived the Passion of Christ, beginning with the agony on Thursday night. The torment continued from Thursday night throughout the whole of Friday. She relived all the scenes of the Passion.
Marthe was inspired to build a Christian school for girls. Most of the priests thought the idea was “crazy” because the area was dominated by freethinkers. It took two years for Marthe to convince her spiritual director to take the first step for the project.
Finally, on Oct. 12, 1934, the Chateauneuf de Galaure school was opened. Today there are two secondary schools and an agricultural school, with a total of about 1,000 students.
Another project Marthe was inspired to undertake was the “Foyers de Charite” (Houses of Charity). They are retreat houses built and organized by consecrated lay people and directed by a priest.
The first retreat took place on Sept. 7, 1936, preached by one of Marthe’s close friends, Father Finet. By 2006 there were 75 Foyers in 41 countries.
After 50 years of suffering in union with Jesus for the conversion of souls, Marthe died on Feb. 6, 1981.
“Oh Virgin Mary, let me each day be more docile, more patient, more simple; unnoticed and forgotten. I do not ask that God bring about in me things that are visible, but only that I be a small, lowly child, sweet and humble of heart,” said Marthe.