Today I was "introduced" to an incredible person. It was totally by accident. I was looking up something else on the Internet when I came across the story of her life. Perhaps I shouldn't say "accident"; "God-incidence" is more accurate (there are no coincidences, after all). In any case, God placed Marthe Robin directly before my eyes.
Marthe Robin (1902-1981) lived her entire life in a small French village. By the time she was twenty-eight years old, she was almost completely paralyzed and bedridden due to a neurological illness. She could not eat or even drink water. She lived in darkness due to severe eye problems and eventually lost her eyesight. She couldn't even sleep. Most people would have given up in despair...but not Marthe. She offered her sufferings to Jesus and became a victim soul, intent on making reparation for the sins of the world.
Marthe's story does not end there. With the help of her spiritual director, she founded a school in her village and, not long afterward, a retreat community called "Foyer de Charite" (or "Home of Love"), which took on the mission of proclaiming the Gospel with a special focus on love of God the Father and the need for all humanity to live as the family of God. Today there are seventy Foyers de Charite in forty countries, all of which offer numerous retreats each year to men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
Along with being a victim soul and a community foundress, Marthe was also a stigmatist and mystic. She received the marks of the Passion and Crucifixion for the first time in 1930 and continued to physically experience the sufferings of Christ every Friday until her death in 1981. Further, Marthe received numerous visits from Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese, who guided and and strengthened her throughout her life. Because Marthe was not able to eat or drink due to her paralysis, her only source of nourishment for fifty-three years was the Holy Eucharist, which she received once a week. Jesus provided Marthe with everything she needed to fulfill her divinely-given mission. Can we not trust Him to do the same for us?
For more information on Marthe Robin and her amazing story, please visit the following websites:
"Marthe Robin: Another Victim Soul" by Jim Gallagher
"The Servant of God Marthe Robin"
"Marthe Robin: Charity and Love" by David Fanning
"Marthe Robin: Modern Stigmatist, Mystic, and Foundress" by Jeff Mirus
"Foyer of Charity"