The Whole Truth about Marthe Robin,
a Mystery of the Apocalypse

Marthe Robin


MARTHE was born on March 13, 1902 in Châteauneuf-de-Galoure in the Drôme department in south-east France, the sixth and last child of a family of well-to-do peasants, who were not regular churchgoers (...).

She did not stand out for her piety. No edifying fact is witnessed during the first sixteen years of her life. If there was something that distinguished her, it was the fact that she was always ailing; in particular, she had a propensity for anorexia.

Psychologically frail, she was also very sensitive. The slightest change in her relational world distressed her. We saw this at the time of the marriage of her eldest sister: she was tormented with jealousy.

The same distress came over her, but more tragically, when her brother, Henri, left for the war in May 1918.

That day, she seemed unable to recover from the emotional shock. She declined constantly and, on December 1, 1918, she collapsed and had to remain confined to her bed. Undernourished for months, she no longer tolerated light and she had headaches that made her scream with pain. The doctors thought that it was a brain tumour, then a lethargic encephalitis; Doctor Modrin immediately diagnosed hysteria (...).

For her father and her brother, Marthe became a mouth to feed. “She does not earn the water she drinks,” they would say with contempt.

Her mother and her sisters helped her well, and a few friends also, but she remained without spiritual support. She was a poor girl suffering dreadfully, without the slightest idea of the redemptive value that she could give to her sufferings.

Indeed, one cannot yet speak of holiness, but she certainly was sorely afflicted by a serious illness.


Around March 25, 1921 (or 1922, the authors do not agree on the date,) her life took a very different turn. Alice, her sister, who was sleeping in the same room, was awakened by a loud noise and she saw a brilliant light. “Yes, the light is beautiful,” Marthe replied to her, “but I also saw the Blessed Virgin.”

This apparition brought about no noticeable change in her behaviour, except that she began “to read a lot”: spiritual authors, lives of saints – preferably great mystics. She did so in a wholly autodidactic manner, without receiving any spiritual direction or advice from anyone.

This passion for unrestrained mysticism lasted ten years after which time “the poor little ill peasant girl” became “the greatest of the mystics.” Is it a miracle of grace or a hysterical reaction? (...) Here is how Father Peyrous, the postulator, explains the prodigy of this spiritual evolution which was so laborious:

Marthe, let us restate, was suffering terribly and from a dreadfully destructing illness. Her personality was under great tension at certain times. Undoubtedly we can say that she was as though lost in those moments, interiorly ravaged. She could have fallen into madness or death. She had to fight in order not to lose her mind, to keep hold of her person, and even to recompose her inner self” (...).

Then, he quotes Doctor Cuvelier, a neuropsychiatrist specialised in mystical literature. “Marthe Robin goes from memorisation to memoration [evocation of a recent memory], that is to say that via her illness, she incorporates memories accepted as present reality into her personality. Such a process should lead to mental confusion whereas in the present case, the “self” emerged strengthened. In our opinion, this is where the intervention of grace can be seen.” (Peyrous, p. 102)

Although the doctor’s opinion is very pertinent, let us not yet bring grace into consideration. Rather, let us say that, in the maze of mystical experiences that Marthe was integrating and incorporating as she advanced in her readings, without having been prepared for it by a Christian life of piety and virtue, an adequate explanation might be that she was being guided by a superior spirit. Just what spirit is it?

Concerning this period of her life, she would say: “I struggled with God” and also: “Everyone can and must fulfil his vocation, but not me… I wrestled with God… I wish none of you to struggle with God.


In 1921 Marthe considered entering the Carmel. Her father was opposed to this and from then on ceased all religious practice. Marthe did not insist further and abandoned the idea. During the summer she regained the use of her legs and went on pilgrimage to Our Lady of Chatenay on August 15 and to Our Lady of Bonne-Combe on September 8.

Starting in 1923, she found spiritual and material support in the friendship of Baroness d’Alboussière and Mrs. Delatour (...). As for Father Faure, the parish priest of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, he himself was humble enough to recognise his incompetence. Nevertheless, he exercised a certain paternity over Marthe, daring for example to tell her forthright that she was “slacking off” (...).


Marthe Robin at 24 years of age
Marthe Robin at 24 years of age

On August 15, 1925, although a place had been reserved for her in a pilgrimage to Lourdes, she withdrew in favour of another young girl. One admires her renouncement, yet it greatly annoyed Father Faure (...).

One day when he brought her Communion, her brother, Henri, exploded: “If that priest comes back again, I will shoot him!” Marthe yielded to the pressure of her brother and asked the parish priest not to come back. She remained without Communion for a long while, several weeks, several months, no one really knows.

Thinking that she might soon die, Marthe wrote an Act of Abandonment and an Act of Offering to the Love and Will of God on October 15, 1925. It is literally copied from a spiritual author. She tore it up in order to write a second, more mystical one, a plagiarism of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. There was much talk about Saint Thérèse since it was the year of her canonisation.

It was precisely, on October 3, Saint Thérèse’s feast day, 1926, that Marthe went into a coma for three weeks. Saint Thérèse appeared to her three times in order to reassure her that she was not going to die for she, Marthe, had to continue Thérèse’s mission and also make Love loved throughout the whole world.

In 1927, at the end of a year of mystical graces, of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin and of Saint Thérèse, Marthe began to receive the visit of the Demon. She sometimes saw him with the eyes of the body; he was naked. Often Marthe would confide: “If you only knew how beautiful he is!” The Devil, however, unmoved by the compliment, would beat her and throw her out of her bed.

She suffered, yet exhibiting a sort of indifference that bears little resemblance to Saint Thérèse’s. “Life is nothing but a gloomy nightmare for those who suffer (…) What can I tell you about myself, life is always the same, dull and monotone, bringing much more sadness than joys; but I believe that nothing affects me now. I see that I am doomed to take large gulps of all the bitter cups. (…)

In 1928, Marthe’s legs were permanently paralysed, the following year it would be her arms. She accepted this state in a kind of serene happiness. Is it an indication of eminent holiness? It can also be the clear case of a hysterical reaction well-known to psychiatrists. (cf. Doctor Gonzague Mottet : Marthe Robin, la stigmatisée de la Drôme, p. 44)


On December 3, 1928, two Capuchins, preached a retreat in the parish and visited Marthe Robin. Enthusiastic from it, they said to Father Faure:

You have a saint in the parish!

I don’t know who you mean,” he answered.

Marthe was enthralled by Father Marie-Bernard who had her entered the Third Order of Saint Francis.

Two days afterwards, Jesus appeared to her and asked her if she would be willing to suffer for the conversion of sinners. He also wanted Father Faure to become her spiritual director, and her to have a great union of soul with him. At each of Marthe’s positive responses, a sword pierced her heart.

Father Faure
Father Faure

Father Faure, who was flattered by the invitation, overcame his reticence and gradually became the secretary of Marthe’s revelations.

At the beginning of October 1930, Jesus asked her: “Do you want to be like Me?” She replied, ‘Yes,’ and it was Christ in Person Who stigmatised her. He was there before her in His sorrowful humanity. He asked her to offer her feet. She stretched her paralysed legs that were curled up and placed them in the same position as the Crucified One. Then from Jesus’ Heart arrows shot out and pierced them; likewise for her hands. Marthe’s arms were stretched out sideways and her legs extended: “Jesus invited me to present my heart, or rather my breast (sic) to Him…” Once again she was pierced.

Marthe’s mother who was not surprised by her daughter’s close relationship with the Blessed Virgin seemed this time to be alarmed, for blood was shed. They tried to conceal it, but the news spread like wildfire.

Marthe RobinFrom that day on, she would relive the Passion every week. Jesus told her: “It is you who I have chosen to live out My Passion the most fully after My Mother [sic]. Furthermore, no one after you will ever live it so totally and in order for you to suffer [sic] night and day, you will never sleep again!” (L’Alouette, March 1986, p. 30)

She no longer ate anything except the consecrated Host that she received only once a week – for Marthe did not attend Mass. In fact, she was unfit to travel. In those days, only Camillian Fathers were allowed to celebrate Mass in sickrooms. There were none in the region.

Really? She would never hear Mass again for the next fifty years? No one considered asking for a special permission for this very privileged soul?

What did it matter: Marthe’s stigmata made her another Christ, so Mass? It is she who relives it. It therefore seems really petty to raise the objection of the law of the Church.


It is important to know that counterfeits exist in this domain, and the Church is well aware of this. Only the stigmata that form “cutaneous outgrowths,” like those of Saint Francis of Assisi, or deep wounds that pierce the limbs right through, leave the medical profession speechless. This is not the case for “superficial stigmata or bleeding on a healthy skin.”

“Authors,” Dr. Mottet points out, “all agree in recognising the existence of an abnormal suggestibility…” It is the type that is peculiar to hysterics. Marthe’s stigmata are of this latter kind, and that is why they did not at all make an impression on Marthe’s friend, the psychiatrist, Paul-Louis Couchoud. When he kissed Marthe’s forehead before taking leave of her, he observed that immediately afterwards a drop of blood formed. He did not lose any sleep over this; his friend was a seriously ill person, that is all there was to it. Ignorant of religious matters, he did not suspect that this kind of mental illness is also a favourite haunt of the Demon.


The news of her stigmatisation and of the Passions that recurred weekly spread and attracted crowds of people. Guitton, intuitive, perfectly characterised the peculiar situation. People were going to flock about Marthe with the same infatuation as the Greeks long ago who went to consult the Pythia.

A kind of domestic ritual was created around the sick woman. Mrs. Robin administered it. For example, she received the gifts that people left. Marthe “thus engaged for a few years in a small business of devotional articles that provided her with a meagre income.” (Peyrous, p. 81)

One would be quite wrong to be scandalised: this money was for the poor and the missionaries... Obviously!


Through a strange turnabout, Father Faure was now entirely devoted to the cause of Marthe, while Father Marie-Bernard was shaking off his enthusiasm.

Marthe RobinTo see through her vanity,” he related, “I advised her to have her picture taken: two photographs were made. In one, she was hideous. In the other, she was wearing a lace mantilla from Valence. She resembled Sarah Bernhardt more than the poor little peasant girl that she was. The temptation of vanity and coquetry prevailed: she offered me Sarah Bernhardt and forgot to give me her true likeness.”

Father Marie-Bernard disavowed Marthe Robin. Crowds, however, continued to flock round.

In less than ten years, Marthe Robin established an impressive network of relations. This was brought about by her illness and the aura that emanated from it. She made a name for herself and became a religious authority in the milieu of “devote” persons. Priests and theologians also came to seek advice.

Take Father Betton, for example, reputed to be well-versed in spirituality and a disciple of Bergson: “I entered this room and immediately I felt such a presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that I felt very small, very small.” Marthe’s humility sufficed to convince him, since she submitted her judgment to the great scholar she had before her. She drank in his words with rapture to learn from him the different types of visions: “intellectual, imaginative, corporeal.” What an astounding puerility for someone versed in spirituality! (...)

Father Albert Valendin, a renowned Jesuit, reputed for his mystical theology, but perhaps even more for his fierce opposition to Action Française.

Father Charles Thellier de Poncheville, editor of the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, one of the founders of the Semaines sociales, a speaker much in demand, a staunch supporter of Marc Sangnier, who spread the democratic ideology of the Sillion, which Saint Pius X had condemned.

The list of Marthe Robin’s cleric friends is very long, but they all have in common the fact that they were firm believers in Christian Democracy.


In 1933, Jesus asked Marthe to found the “Foyers de Charité.” This involved having married or single men and women laypeople, who desire to follow the example of the first Christians and form together a community, to live in the same building complex. He called this the “great work of His love.

I want to do here something new and very great for our Glory, for the sake of you… For the sake of all that I do and want to do with you, and through you, in whom I want to glorify Myself infinitely.”

At that moment, in a glorious gesture of blessing and love, Jesus opened His arms, looked down on the earth that He was covering majestically with His shadow (sic!) considering it with ineffable tenderness and kindness. After a moment in this stance, He showed me the precise location where He wanted His Work, and it would have to be acquired.

The first house was to be founded in Châteauneuf and would begin with the creation of a Catholic school for girls. Marthe entrusted this mission to Father Faure who protested. He consulted his fellow priests and all but one of them said that it was pure folly. Despite this, he embarked on the adventure: buying and restoring the derelict castle of Châteauneuf-de-Galaure.


Mary MediatrixThis is when the strange Miss Emilie Blank intervened. She came from the “mystical milieu of Lyon,” was burning with the same aspirations as Marthe and felt compelled “to found something.” Marthe was enthralled by her new friend. Later on, having forgotten Our Lord’s words, she would say that the idea of the Foyers de charité “came from Miss Blank.”

She thought that what Marthe and her venture lacked the most was a man of calibre. After having consulted the circle of her friends, she proposed Father Finet, a spiritual director and the assistant superintendent for Catholic education in the Diocese of Lyon. All that remained was to find a way to have him accept.

Marthe had a very special devotion to Mary Mediatrix. She wanted a painting that represents Her, yet she added out of pique, “not like what we see everywhere.” Miss Blank seized the opportunity: “I have just what you need,” she said.

The strange painting that Miss Blanck was thinking about, shows the Blessed Virgin, crowned, the earth underfoot, with a Serpent, but She is not crushing its head. Her hands, instead of being lowered with rays of graces streaming from them, are raised in the position of an orant. A lily, surmounted by a host, rises from the earth – or rather, from the mouth of the Serpent – to the height of the Virgin’s heart. The painting would remain in Marthe’s sickroom in permanence.

Miss Blank was sure her gift would please. She arranged everything, and it was Father Finet who would come to offer it to Marthe.


Père Finet
Father Finet

Father Finet met Marthe on February 10, 1936. Their conversation lasted three hours: one hour on the Blessed Virgin, the next hour on the new apostolate of the laity, and during the third hour, they spoke about the “Pentecost of love” that both were expecting (...).

Then Marthe said to him in a commanding tone:

I have a demand to address to you on behalf of God. It is you who must come here to Châteauneuf to found the first Foyer de Charité (…).

To do what?

Above all to preach retreats. God wills it!

Father Finet protested. He was from the Diocese of Lyon, not from Valence.

Don’t worry yourself,” Marthe retorted, “the Blessed Virgin will see to it!” and without further delay she set September 7 as the date for the first retreat.

“Finet was won over, stunned as well: ‘I will speak about it to my superiors.’ ”

You must accept!” said Bishop Bornet and Msgr. Rouche, in the Diocese of Lyon. As for Father Valensin, he affirmed: “Marthe Robin is Catherine of Sienna. She will never deceive you. She possesses the spirit of the Church! You must do all that she tells you to do; she will never deceive you.” Bishop Pic of Valence, enthusiastically blessed the project.

Other prelates like Cardinal Archbishop Louis Joseph Maurin, of Lyon, were more sceptical. This disciple of Saint Pius X and supporter of Action Française, who would die a few months later, considered this project “crazy”!


The picture that Peyrous painted of Father Finet, his service records, his piety, his devotion to souls compel admiration. The responsibilities that he had had in the army and in Catholic education gave him the experience of souls and the habit of commandment.

The downside of his qualities, however, was that: “When totally involved, intellectually and emotionally, in an enterprise, he can lack perspective, be uncritical of himself and of others. He has difficulty blaming himself.

He was also strongly Christian Democrat.

From the very first retreat, Father Finet and his spiritual daughter presented the delightful spectacle of the purest paternal and filial love. He touched hearts by preaching on the goodness of the Father, while Marthe made everyone discover “the very maternal and marvellous side of Mary.”

The institution developed, money always arrived at the right moment, even in that time of war (...).


In 1942, Father Finet decided to have a new, quieter, sickroom built for Marthe. On August 7, 1943, a cleverly worded warning from Bishop Pic, dismissed both the opponents and the fanatic supporters of Marthe Robin without pronouncing in favour of either of them. The bishop did not want trite lampoons “to implicate very indiscreetly the most respectable theologians and even cardinals.”

“Thereafter,” François de Muizon explains to us, “Father Finet would increase the reliability of a very strict system for spreading information. Under the bishop’s authority he became Marthe’s only spokesman. All the visitors who were permitted to meet Marthe Robin in her sickroom were forbidden to speak about her, even to their own family. The law of silence was imposed. This would be the rule until Marthe’s death.” (de Muizon, p. 137)

Why such vigilance, what is the secret that deserves to be so well guarded?

Marthe RobinGreat importance is attached to two wonders of Marthe Robin : her inedia – the fact that she did not eat at all – and her complete immobility by paralysis. The truth appears in the testimonies collected in the positio, and Father Peyrous felt obliged to say it, while wrapping it up as best he could: Marthe got about a few times at night ‘to relieve herself,” she recovered “a certain freedom,” she ate the minimum required to keep alive (...).

This revelation disturbed Marthe’s friends, who sought to respond in a book published in 2014: “If Marthe Robin satisfied her body by eating and concealed this fact by lying, she was not living on the Host and she was not kept alive by Christ Who reposes in it according to the Catholic Faith. She therefore had no true mission for founding the Foyers de Charité. It seems to me that these are not insignificant conclusions in a book that is meant to be the biography of a woman whose reputation of holiness justified in the eyes of ecclesiastical authorities that a process of beatification be opened in the court of Rome concerning her.

So what is the key to the enigma? It is the Demon. Obviously! It was the Demon who assumed Marthe’s appearance and who moved about in her sickroom! Father Finet himself provided this explanation to Marthe’s caregivers, who were astonished to have caught her out of bed several times. Perhaps, he wanted to reassure these gullible persons?

The documents that Marthe’s friends quote, also reveal to us that the interior bolt of her sickroom was at 40 cm from the floor, and thus within her reach. They also state that she was very familiar with her chest of drawers: “When someone was searching in them in the semi-darkness, she would say: No, it’s in the next drawer…” (p. 184) For someone who has been blind and above all paralysed for fifty years, yes truly, this is ‘heroic’!


Numerous doctors met Marthe. Among them, psychiatrists of great renown, even convinced Catholics, diagnosed without hesitation hysteria. They, however, did not dare to denounce the hoax of her apparitions.

Others were among her friends and admirers. In 1942, Bishop Pic appointed some of them to be her official examiners. No serious medical conclusions emerged from their report, they took what their patient said at its face value.

The case of Dr. Alain Assailly is emblematic. In order to confound a sceptical confrere, he proposed to have Marthe put under observation in a hospital for a month to examine her inedia.

When she heard of this, Marthe swore to him that she was ready for anything, that her rule was obedience, and that she would do whatever her confessor, her bishop or the Holy Father demanded. She also explained to him that, despite everything, he would not succeed in converting one of his friends, no more than the miracles of Lourdes had succeeded in converting atheist doctors.

Do you know any who converted?” “No, Miss.” “Call me Marthe, I would like that… we are going to work together…

In fact, they would work together. For this Catholic neuropsychiatrist who had to treat cases of diabolical possessions, it was going to prove to be very interesting. Assailly forgot his demand and instead sent her some of his patients. Marthe helped them and participated remotely, but most effectively, in their recovery. In the meanwhile, however, she evaded a month at the hospital under tight scrutiny. Little Marthe was really very clever! (...)

What about the case of her brother Henri? It is one of the difficulties of the dossier. In 1951, he shot himself in the head with a hunting gun. His body was found upstairs; Marthe had heard nothing. When she learned what happened, she was not worried about his eternity. Yet, Henry was violent alcoholic and anticlerical.


Foundations of Foyers de Charité were multiplying and Father Finet considered the question of the canonical recognition. In 1952, Canon Naz proposed to give them the status of a secular institute. Marthe exploded: “A Foyer de Charité is not a contraption added on to another contraption. It is something very new in the Church. It is up to the Church to have us accepted us as we are. (...) There will never be Constitutions in the Foyers. Constitutions would limit us and place us in the category of religious orders.” (cf. Peyrous, p. 291-292) She did not make such a fuss when it came to concealing the ‘dear money’ of the Foyers de Charité from the taxman… through the benevolent intervention of Edmond Michelet, the Christian Democrat purger of 1944.

In the early 1950s, Bishop Urtasun, Bishop Pic’s successor, was concerned to see this mystic in perpetual darkness. He ascended to La Plaine, determined not to be deluded, and he saw Marthe with the shutters wide open and light shining straight at her. Just this once, Marthe did not scream out in pain. On the contrary, she made sheep’s eyes at the bishop and offered him a suave conversation that sent him back reassured.

Father Finet preaching a retreat.
Father Finet preaching a retreat.


From November 1940 on, it was Father Finet who organised the visits and presided over Marthe’s “passions.” He alone was able to bring her out of her ecstasies or expel the demon. He preached retreats at Châteauneuf and insisted greatly on God’s merciful and almost unconditional love. They were very pious, oozing with love; the slightest desire for penance or austerity was deemed Jansenism.

Marthe RobinHe presided over the foundation of new Foyers de Charité, over more than sixty at the time of Marthe’s death. It was really big business. That appealed to the best traditionalist Catholics.

Pope Pius XII took interest in her case. He sent Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange. Marthe spoke to him about the Blessed Virgin. The good Father came out of the conversation with tears in his eyes, overwhelmed by his own ignorance.

In the deviations of the post-Council, she stood on the side of order, but of Conciliar order. The dignified Abbots of Fontgombault consulted Marthe concerning the liturgical reform. Bishop Lefebvre himself received his encouragement in the early days... She encouraged Father Marie-Dominique Philippe to found the Brothers of Saint-John.

She supported the apparitions of Garabandal, although they were condemned by the Church.

She encouraged Pastor Gérard Croissant, who would soon become Brother Ephraim. She, who dissuaded Protestant pastors from abjuring their heresy under the pontificate of Pius XII, said to him: “The time has come.


On August 1, 1942, the year during which Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Marthe related a vision of the Blessed Virgin that she had. She wrote screeds, but here are the essential points:

This Virgin closes one stage and opens another. She closes the stage of God’s beseeching warnings, of His threats in the course of Her many apparitions in France and elsewhere during the last centuries. She is opening the time of the overflowing of God’s mercy in favour of Her children who failed to understand His warnings and His threats. Since we did not heed the divine kindness, we suffered the punishments announced by the Virgin. Mercy is inexhaustible, and the Virgin, without taking our faults into account, becomes the expression, indeed the sacrament, of God’s mercy…

Marthe did not oppose the “multiple apparitions” of the past, she integrated them into a kind of charismatic synthesis, whereby God’s holiness of justice is no longer accepted. She declared them to be outdated, outmoded, like an old testament that is replaced by the new...

Marthe Robin is the antithesis of Lucy of Fatima, and her so-called Virgin, the ‘mediatrix’ of a charismatic love that does not come from God, is a rival of Our Lady of Fatima.


La chambre de Marthe Robin.In an extraordinary snapshot, Jean Guitton captured for us the mystery of this woman. For him, it is chapter twelve of the Apocalypse, the one with a woman and the Dragon, which was relived in this room. She did not moan, but she gave birth, in her own way. He observed the curled up position of her paralysed legs, her heels resting on her upper thighs, “in the form of an upside down M”. In this instance, Marthe represents the amazing icon of a diabolical inversion of the reverse side of the Miraculous Medal, and of the Eucharistic and Marian mystery that it signifies, while the painting of Mary Mediatrix symbolises the obverse of the medal.

On February 5, 1981, before she was to undergo a thorough medical examination by order of her bishop, a howl rent the night. Marthe died “without bleeding,” in sordid conditions, on the floor, open-mouthed, distraught, like the Serpent on our representations of the Immaculate Conception. Whether she had been “killed by the Demon” who had warned her: “I will have you to the end!” or whether she died a natural death, it matters little. Let us leave the details of this inquiry to the police.

When she was buried on February 12, her coffin was placed at the top of the vault. During the exhumation of her body, however, it was found displaced, at the bottom, on the floor!


Rome is informed of the truth. She knows the theological demurrals to Marthe Robin’s cause, which were compiled by the promoter of justice, Msgr. Pierre Bouvier. They form a considerable part of Marthe’s positio, even though it was published without his approval.

It is perhaps the greatest mystical hoax of all times. No matter what pressure groups dominate the Roman Curia, and the Charismatic Renewal is not the least among them, the men of the Church cannot dispense with an examination and a condemnation in due form. Neither can they indefinitely elude the great doctrinal trial that our Father, Georges de Nantes demanded.

Let us pray, pray much for the Holy Father!

Extracts from He is Risen n° 150, April 2015