Franciscan Spirit Blog

Seven Followers of St. Francis: Venerable Marthe Robin

Third Order Franciscan
Founder of the Foyers of Charity
(1902–1981)

Marthe Robin was born in 1902 in a small village near Lyons. Her early childhood was happy and unremarkable. When she was 16, however, she showed the first symptoms of a grave disease that would eventually leave her bedridden. On March 25, 1925, she offered a solemn prayer consecrating her life and her sufferings to God to help spread love in the world. Within three years she was totally paralyzed. That same year she entered the Franciscan Third Order. Unable to eat or drink, she was reportedly sustained for the rest of her life by the Eucharist alone. In time, she also received the marks of Christ’s wounds on her hands and feet.

In 1936, a young priest named Georges Finet came to serve as her spiritual director. To him, she confided her vision for a new apostolic movement, the Foyers of Charity. With his help, her vision was realized. The Foyers of Charity is an international network of Catholic men and women who live, work, and pray together as a family to spread Christ’s love in the world.

Marthe lived on for many years—blind and immobilized, yet active through her prayers in the life of the Church, dispensing spiritual counsel, and showing that even when a person is stripped of everything, she still has the power to love.

She died on February 6, 1981. In 2014, Pope Francis recognized her heroic virtues, and she was declared venerable.


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Questions for Reflection

  • Marthe Robin accomplished great things with limited mobility. How can we spread the good news in our own small ways?
  • Prayer starts inward and flows outward. How can our prayers help to remedy a wounded world?
  • In what ways can we model Marthe’s humble service of others?

“It seems to me that I am no more than a very tiny thing in the arms of God, and that I will remain so until I die. I do not know what He wants to do with me, but I desire it all.”
Venerable Marthe Robin



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