Marthe Robin was born on March 13, 1902 in Châteauneuf de Galaure in the Drôme, on the "farm of the plain". She was the sixth child of modest farmers. They were not practicing but wanted to have little Marthe baptized. As a child, she did chores, she took care of the goats. From the age of six, Marthe walked two kilometers every day to get to school.
At the age of ten, she had her first communion, at which point her personal relationship with the Lord began. The young Martha also loved the Virgin Mary, to whom she entrusted herself, often praying the rosary. The Robin family was hit by typhoid, which left Marthe in fragile health. For this reason she often missed school and will never get her certificate of studies although she was a gifted student.
At the age of 16, Martha became very seriously ill with what was later diagnosed as encephalitis. She remained in bed for almost two years before resuming a small amount of embroidery. Until she was 26, the disease progressed and Marthe understood that she would never recover and would never have a normal life. These ten years would be a period of great suffering for the girl, her disability becoming more and more severe. She could no longer eat and knew that she was a burden for her parents. Under these conditions, she wondered what her useless life was for and did not understand the meaning of this terrible ordeal inflicted on her and her family.
At the age of 26, her life changed thanks to a parish mission preached by Capuchin fathers. Two of them came to visit the young woman, who then received an immense grace and understood that her sick life made sense with Jesus. At the request of her parish priest, Abbey Faure, Marthe Robin wrote her "Journal" from December 1929 to November 1932. In 1934, at Marthe's request, a small girls' school was founded in Châteauneuf. On February 10, 1936, Marthe Robin met Father Finet for the first time. This Lyon priest came to bring her a painting of the Blessed Virgin for school. From this providential encounter would be born the work of the Homes of Charity.
The long-hidden life of Marthe Robin continued, without her ever leaving her small room on the farm, Marthe would be incredibly active and fruitful. Because of her illness, she could not stand the light and stayed in a dark room, where she received many visits. During her lifetime she received more than one hundred thousand visitors, people who met her agreed that she was a simple person, very attentive, interested in people in depth.
There were many extraordinary phenomena in Martha's life. She had various talents like that of reading souls. She had apparitions of the Virgin Mary, of Saint Teresa, of the Child Jesus, and of Jesus. She delivered famous prophecies, especially concerning France. Marthe Robin had an intense mystical life. From October 2, 1930, she relived the Passion of Christ every Friday and received marks (stigmas).
Marthe Robin died on February 6, 1981 at the age of 79. To this day, her house remains open to all. Every day people come to her room to pray and ask for her intercession. People from all over the world tell her their intentions. Numerous testimonies of grace received by her intercession in Heaven flowed to Châteauneuf.
The Homes of Charity are the great work requested by Jesus of Marthe, it would be accomplished thanks to Father Finet. The meeting between this bourgeois priest with important responsibilities in Catholic education and the young peasant without education, Marthe Robin, was unexpected.
The “Homes of Light, Charity and Love”, commonly known as Homes of Charity, are communities of lay people, men and women living with a priest in communion. Their mission is to proclaim God's love for every man through spiritual retreats and the witness of household members.
The first of these communities is in Châteauneuf de Galaure. Gradually Homes of Charity are founded all over the world. Currently, they are present in Europe, Africa, America and Asia. Every home aims to be as Jesus asked Marthe: "the house of my heart open to all."
The first Work requested by Jesus of Marthe Robin, was the opening of a small parish school. It was the parish priest Faure who took care of it at the request of Marthe Robin. The girls' establishment opened in Châteauneuf in 1934.
On October 3rd, 1953, a boys' school was opened in Saint-Bonnet de Galaure with a member of the household and a teacher sent by the diocese. Today, there are several schools in the Homes of Charity.
In the course of her life, Marthe progressed spiritually and gradually discovered the heart of God, she came to reveal to us what she understood and what she experienced. Her message is in line with that of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus and is more relevant than ever. It can be summarized in several points:
Marthe Robin wrote many prayers that have been transmitted to us. Among the most famous, there is the Way of the Cross, the prayer for France, the prayer "O beloved Mother", and the Act of Abandonment. There is also a novena through which we can ask the intercession of Marthe Robin for us in particular.
For the thousands of people who have met her, Marthe Robin is a saint. Yet more is needed for the Church to officially declare Martha Robin a saint. The cause of beatification has been ongoing since February 10, 1986. On November 7, 2014, Marthe Robin was declared Venerable by Pope Francis. The process leading to beatification and then canonization is long and laborious, especially for a person such as Marthe Robin. Indeed she received more than one hundred thousand people and there are more than ten thousand pages of testimonies reported on Martha. The first job was to sort and verify them by eliminating pages and keeping some testimonies. This work was done and named the "positio", three volumes that form a summary.
Many await this recognition by the Church of the holiness of Marthe Robin. This will allow Martha to be better known and will meet a need of our time. Indeed Marthe Robin is a person who, by her example, attracts many people to Jesus from all walks of life.