Marie Léonie Martin was born on June 3, 1863 in the Martin family
home at rue du Pont-Neuf in Alençon, located in the Normandy
region of France. She entered this world with blonde hair and
beautiful blue eyes but sadly, her physical health was not very good.
Léonie was the third-born child of nine children of Louis and Azélie
Martin was born. The proud parents named her Marie Léonie
Martin. Louis and Azélie gave each of their children the first name
of Marie in honor of Our Lady and each male child was given the
additional name of Joseph in honor of St. Joseph. The Martin
family home was on rue du Pont-Neuf in Alençon, located in the
Normandy region of France. Her father was a watchmaker and
mother was a lace maker. On June 4, 1863, the Martin family
brought their newly born child, Marie Léonie to the Cathedral of
Saint Pierre-de-Montsort to be baptized by Father Lebouc. Mrs.
Léonie (Gilbert) Tifenne, a very close friend of the family, was
given the honor of being Léonie’s godmother and Adolphe was
given the honor of being Léonie's godfather.
Azélie gave birth again a year later on October 13,1864, to Marie
Hélène who passed away on February 22, 1870, at the age of five.
Louis and Azélie were blessed on September 20, 1866 with the birth
of their first son, Joseph Louis Martin. It was with great sadness the
he too passed away a year later on February 14, 1867. On December
19, 1867 the birth of their second son, Joseph Jean Baptiste was
born, however, was take away from them, on August 25, 1868. The
life of Louis and Azélie’s sixth daughter, Marie Mélanie Thérèse
was short from August 16, 1870 to October 8, 1870.
From the start of Léonie’s life her physical health was very poor.
Once Léonie reached the age of nine months old, she suffered from
whooping cough. After surviving from whooping cough, she then
contracted the measles with violent convulsions before her first
birthday. Léonie’s father and mother were very worried that their
child would not survive. Azélie contacted Isidore Guérin, her
brother a pharmacist in Lisieux, asking him if he had any remedies
to help aid in Léonie’s recovery. His ability, as a pharmacist, to
help his niece was very limited and a cure for Léonie was not to
be received. Azélie then contacted her sister, Sister Marie-
Dosithée, who was a Visitation nun at a convent in Le Mans.
Sister Marie-Dosithée wrote to Azélie and suggested that she make
a novena to St. Margaret Mary, then blessed, for a cure for
Léonie’s illnesses. Azélie made a novena to then Blessed Margaret
Mary and made this statement during her novena: “If Léonie is to
become a saint one day, then cure her.” (GV) Léonie’s father, set
out for a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame du Sées (Our Lady of the Seas)
for a cure to his daughter’s illness. After the novena to then Blessed
Margaret Mary, Léonie was cured and no longer suffered from
chronic illnesses to this degree during her infancy. Azélie describes
Léonie after she was cured: “Nine days after Léonie’s illness, she
was able to land on her feet again, running around the house like a
little rabbit.” (SF) It was a year and a half before Léonie learned to
In 1871, there were two changes that were taking place. The first
change was that the family was moving into their new home, which
was previously owned by Azélie’s father, at 36 rue Saint-Blaise in
Alençon. The second change was that Léonie was going to attend
the Visitation boarding school and finally become a student.
As Léonie started getting older, it became evident that it was getting
more and more difficult to prepare her for school, her parents
worked feverishly to tame her strong rebellious nature and to teach
her to focus on learning. By the time Léonie was now old enough to
attend school, Azélie wanted to send Léonie to the Visitation
boarding school in Le Mans where her older two sisters were
already studying. Azélie tried twice to get Léonie enrolled at the
Visitation boarding school; however, her attempts became
fruitless. The Mother Superior had rejected Léonie's entrance both
times. Azélie contacted her sister, Sister Marie-Dosithée, at the
boarding school and asked her if she could speak to the Mother
Superior about allowing Léonie to enter. The Mother Superior
finally agreed, but it was only on a temporary basis to see
whether or not Léonie was able to adjust to the rigors of her
Sister Marie-Dosithée took special care of Léonie while she was at
the Visitation boarding school. She tutored Léonie in the subjects
that she was being taught. One of Léonie’s difficult subjects to
master was math and she made every effort to resist learning this
subject. Léonie was sent home again, due to her in ability to control
her resistant nature to learn even though she had a very loving
heart. A third attempt was made to send her back to the Visitation
boarding school by her mother. Azélie wanted desperately for
Léonie to learn the Catechism at the boarding school for her First
Holy Communion. Léonie rejoined her two older sisters, Marie
and Pauline, at the boarding school in January of 1874. Azélie
looked to her sister, Sister Marie-Dosithée to change Léonie’s
character. Sister Marie-Dosithée used her strong character to
persuade Léonie to align herself with her fellow students but it
was not working at all. Sister Marie-Dosithée decided to try
kindness as a method to control her unruly temperament and it
worked but for only two weeks. However, Léonie’s stay at the
school was only going to last for three months. It was difficult for
Léonie to control her sudden outbursts while she was around other
students as she was not able to focus all of her energy on her work.
Azélie was contacted and told to pick up her daughter at the
Visitation boarding school. When Azélie arrived in Le Mans, she
spoke to her sister, Sister Marie-Dosithée. Azélie’s sister felt that
even though it was difficult to teach her, she felt she was a “child
of destiny”. She also thought that one day; Léonie would join her
as a nun in the Visitation convent.
After Léonie rejoined her family in Alençon, Azélie found her two
retired teachers to tutor her, in her studies, at their home. The two
retired teachers appeared to be on the surface very respectable and
religious, however, that was not to be the case. After Azélie spoke
with Léonie about an event, which occurred with the two teachers,
Azélie decided to end Léonie’s tutoring with the teachers. Azélie
then decided to take upon the task of teaching her daughter herself
and also teaching her the Catechism for her First Holy Communion.
Léonie was very receptive in learning the Catechism from her
mother. Azélie took Léonie on a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception in a town just outside of Alençon called
Sées, in preparation for her First Holy Communion. When the
day came, Léonie was ready to take her First Holy Communion. Azélie decided that one poor girl, in
Léonie’s Catechism class, would be given a beautiful white communion dress, as her family could not
afford one for her. The Martin family also gave her a place of honor in the festivities that the family
had planned for after the event. On May 23, 1875, Léonie and her friend took their First Holy
Communion at the Church of Notre-Dame (Our Lady) in Alençon. Later in life, Léonie would remark
by saying: My First Holy Communion was not the greatest day of my life because during my childhood
I spent my time suffering from many trials set before me by God. Right after Léonie took her First Holy
Communion, she went to Lisieux to spend some time with her uncle and aunt.
Léonie was still a little rebellious and strong willed against her parents’ authority. However, her heart
toward them was just as loving and as strong. Léonie loved to entertain and take care of her younger
sister, Thérèse. She would sing to her a little lullaby until she went to sleep. Léonie did, however, spend
a lot of time alone in her bedroom and a lot of time with the maid. Léonie’s family suspected something
was bothering her but they could not figure out what it was. Leonie’s behavior would change drastically
from being a pleasant child to being an unruly child.
Azélie would bring Léonie with her to Le Mans when she went to see her sister, Sister Marie-Dosithée.
She still felt that her sister had a great influence over Léonie and could possibility be able to help change
her behavior. Sister Marie-Dosithée still held onto the fact that Léonie would someday become religious.
In the fall of 1876, Azélie found out that her sister had tuberculosis. In December of the same year,
Azélie told her family that she had breast cancer. Léonie was devastated by the news of her mother’s
illness. In January 1877, Azélie went to visit Sister Marie-Dosithée for the last time. Azélie asked her sister
when she went to heaven, to please ask Our Lady for help correcting Léonie’s behavior. Léonie wanted to
write a letter to her holy aunt before she died. Léonie asked her sister, Marie, to help write her letter to her
aunt. Léonie wrote: “My dear Aunt, when you get to heaven, will you please ask the good God, if He pleases,
to give me the grace to be converted and also to give me the vocation of becoming a true religious, for I think
of that every day.” (GV) The next day, when her sister Marie reviewed her letter, Marie could not understand
what she meant about being a true religious. Marie confronted Leonie asking her what she meant about being a
true religious. Léonie replied: “A true religious is one who becomes a saint and I wish to become a saint.” On
February 24, 1877, Sister Marie-Dosithée ended her suffering with tuberculosis and was received by the Lord.
The Martin family went to Le Mans to attend her funeral and to pay their last and loving respects to their holy
Azélie held out for hope that her sister would come through for her in heaven and bring about a positive change
in Léonie’s behavior. A couple of weeks had past and the secret of Léonie’s behavior was finally coming to the
surface. Marie investigated the strange relationship Léonie had with Louise Marais, the maid. Marie could not
understand why Léonie was very good when she was around Louise and then very bad when she was around
her mother. She noticed that Louise had gained total control over Léonie and was terrorizing and beating her.
The only person that Léonie was to obey was her and only her. After Marie found out what was happening
to Léonie, she went straight to her mother and told her. Once Azélie was informed she became very upset and
distraught. Azélie went to Louise and confronted her about her treatment towards her daughter Léonie. Azélie
ordered her to leave the premises at once and to never return. Louise begged and pleaded with Azélie to stay
because she had nowhere else to go. Azélie went to speak with Louis to decide on what action was to be taken
with Louise. Azélie instructed Louise that she is not to have any contact with Léonie and upon her death she
was to leave.
Once the secret had surfaced, Léonie’s behavior quickly changed for the better. Azélie and Léonie’s
relationship had blossomed beautifully. Azélie described her new relationship with Léonie to her brother,
Isidore, in a letter: “I cannot help thinking that this transformation is due to the prayers of our saintly sister,
for all was altered two to three weeks after her death. It is she who has obtained for me the grace to know
how to act so as to win Léonie’s affections, and I hope God will let me finish my task, which is far from
being completed as yet.” (SF)
The breast cancer, taking an even harsher effect on her health, Azélie had a lot of work ahead of her, prior to
her death. Bringing an end to her lace making business and also reeducating Léonie was an enormous task for
her to complete. Azélie was fearful that she would die before she finished helping Léonie to become more
independent. She was also afraid that Léonie would go back to her previous behavior and there would be no
one there to help her. Thankfully, Léonie was a willing and loving soul, allowed her mother to teach her
everything about transforming her life for the better.
Their relationship blossomed so much that they became inseparable. Léonie helped her mother with the Point
d’Alençon lace. Azélie taught Léonie about “gentleness, kindness, and then detachment from pleasure, the
determination to give pleasure, no matter at what cost to the good Jesus.” (CW) Léonie stayed at her mother’s
side all the way to the end.
Azélie realizing that her life was coming to an end, she decided to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes to seek out a
cure for her breast cancer. Louis made reservations for the pilgrimage to Lourdes for Azélie and her three
older daughters. Louis stayed behind to take care of Céline and Thérèse. Azélie and Léonie boarded the train
in Alençon to Le Mans. They quickly stopped to pick up Marie and Pauline at the Visitation boarding school.
All four of them boarded the train destined to Lourdes.
On the train their bad luck began. A few passengers on the train wanted to make some coffee and placed it
over a spirit lamp. The lamp fell over, douching their clothes in oil. Upon arriving in Lourdes they were
forced to leave the place they were originally suppose to stay at and look for another place to lodge. The
bad luck did not stop there. To Marie’s dismay, her aunt’s rosary was lost, which was given to her after her
Each day, while they were at Lourdes, Azélie was taken into the frozen waters of Lourdes to be dunked and
each time a cure was not to be received. She prayed earnestly that she would receive a cure. She asked if it
is not the will of God to cure her, please cure Léonie and make her a saint. Azélie felt that she would gladly
give her life up to God if her daughter Léonie was cured and made a saint. To the great dismay of Azélie’s
daughters, at their mother’s attempt at receiving a cure for her breast cancer, they were greatly upset that she
did not receive a cure. Azélie worked hard to change their minds about ever doubting God’s plan for
It was time for them to leave Lourdes and head back home to Alençon. When the train arrived in Alençon,
Louis, Céline and Thérèse were waiting there for them. When Louis saw their faces he knew a cure was not
received. Azélie approached Louis with great optimism and said God did answer one of her prayers instead.
Léonie was so distraught over her mother’s illness that she prayed a novena to ask God to take her in her
Up to the months leading to Azélie’s death, her main concern was still over Léonie’s welfare after she was
gone. Who will look after her? Azélie asked Louis to move to Lisieux after her death so that he and the girls
would be around her family, the Guérins. Azélie felt that by moving to Lisieux, her children would be better
taken care of and looked after by Isidore and Elisa-Céline. As the end of August approached, it was a matter
of hours before Azélie would be taken into God’s arms. Marie promised her that she would look after and
take care of Léonie. On August 28, 1877, Azélie’s soul ascended to heaven. Azélie’s funeral took place at
the cathedral and she was buried in Cimetière Notre Dame (Our Lady's Cemetery).
Honoring the wishes of his late holy wife Azélie and conceding to the advice of his brother-in-law, Isidore,
Louis decided to move the family to Lisieux. It was Isidore who found the residence called “Les Buissonnets”
(The Woods) where the family was to live. The family packed up their belongings and paid their last respects
to Azélie, at the cemetery, before setting off for their new home.
As soon as they arrived in Lisieux, Louis went back to Alençon to finish the lace-making business that Azélie
had started. Marie and Pauline started organizing their new home while Léonie, Céline, and Thérèse started
school immediately at the Benedictine boarding school called Notre-Dame du Pré. (Allied bombing raids
destroyed the school in June 1944). Léonie became a boarder while Céline and Thérèse went to school during
the day and came home at night. Léonie did still have difficulty with her schoolwork but not to the severity
that she was having when she was at the Visitation boarding school in Le Mans.
After the death of her mother, Léonie’s heart was developing into a greater love for herself and for her family;
changes were taking place in all parts of her life. Everyone in the family saw this positive change in her and
especially Marie. She felt that it was their mother who was helping Léonie's heart evolves into a beautiful young
lady. Louis commonly referred to her as his “Good Léonie”.
One of Léonie’s teachers was surprised by how delicate her thoughts were when she wrote her compositions
for class. She was very impressed by the love and compassion she put into her writings. Léonie made every
effort to express her love for others and to continue to make small sacrifices on their behalf. Léonie completed
her studies at the Benedictine boarding school on October 1, 1881. Later on, Léonie would return to the
Benedictine boarding school to visit her former teachers who nicknamed her “The Abbey Lover".
Léonie’s older sister, Pauline, took a big step in devoting herself fully to God and entered the Carmelite
monastery in Lisieux, in October 1882. Léonie and her sisters went to visit Pauline often at the monastery.
In May of 1883, Thérèse, Léonie’s youngest sister, became extremely ill. The doctor was called and he was
not able to diagnose her illness. Expecting that Thérèse was going to die, Léonie and her sisters stayed with her
day and night. On May 13, 1883, as Marie, Léonie, and Céline were praying at the foot of the bed, a miracle
happened. An apparition of Our Lady appeared before Thérèse and she was cured. Léonie, praying with her
eyes full of tears, was not able to see the apparition of Our Lady. However, she did notice that Thérèse was
cured when she saw a major change in her physical appearance.
The family dedicated themselves to serving the poor at Les Buissonnets. Shelters for the homeless were very
scarce so the family would invite the poor into their home and receive food, clothing and money. They gave
special care to those who needed their help the most. Léonie took care of an old dying woman who had no
family of her own. She would bathe her, clothe her, feed her, and comfort her in her final days. Upon the
death of the poor old woman, Léonie prepared her body for her funeral. Léonie and her family continued to
make small sacrifices for everyone around them and were not afraid to show their love to strangers in need.
Léonie also made small sacrifices for her sisters. Realizing she was too old to play with dolls, gave her two
youngest sisters Céline and Thérèse her dolls and their clothes.
On June 14, 1884, it was time for Thérèse’s confirmation. Léonie was given the special honor of
becoming Thérèse’s sponsor. It was a wonderful day for both of them.
In October of 1886, Marie decided also to devote herself to God alone and enter the same Carmelite monastery
as Pauline. The family went back to Alençon to visit their mother’s grave before Marie entered into the
monastery. During this same time, on October 7, 1886, Léonie went to visit the Poor Clare monastery on rue
de la Demi-Lune. She spoke with the Mother Superior and both of them agreed that she would enter the Poor
Clare monastery at once. To the dismay and shock of the family and especially to Marie, Louis granted
permission for Léonie to enter. Léonie told her family, as she made her first attempt at religious life, look at my
eyes for this will be last time you will ever see them. Unfortunately, Léonie was not able to stay there for long,
for the rigors of the rule of the Poor Clare’s was too much for her physical body to handle. Léonie was forced to
surrender to her weak body and leave the Poor Clares on December 1st of the same year. After Léonie’s first
failed attempt at religious life, Pauline instilled hope in their father’s eyes that one day Léonie would be a religious
and that God would find a place for her.
In the first few weeks of July 1887, Louis and his daughters, Léonie, Céline, and Thérèse went to La Havre for
the International Maritime Exhibition. From La Havre they went to Honfleur. Visiting the chapel of Notre-Dame
de Grace (Our Lady of Grace), Leonie prayed to God again about her vocation. Following in the footsteps of her
beloved aunt Sister Marie Dosithée, Léonie made a second attempt at religious life. Leading up to Léonie's
departure, Céline, helped Léonie organize her things. On July 16, 1887, Léonie entered the Visitation Order
in the city of Caen at Monastère de la Visitation (Visitation Monastery).
Léonie’s goals were to have a closer relationship with God and ultimately to become a saint. One of her biggest
trials was releasing any relevance to any material things and her poor health. Unfortunately, things did not work
out as she planned; Léonie’s health prevented her from continuing her vocation as a nun any further. Once again,
Léonie was forced to leave the religious life. On January 6, 1888, Léonie returned home broken hearted. In the
same year on April 9th, Léonie’s youngest sister Thérèse entered the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux.
In June, a devastating fire erupted in the adjoining home next to the Martins. Léonie and the maid were the only
ones there and barely escaped. Their roof had caught on fire but luckily the firemen were able to put it out.
During the end of 1888 and into the beginning of 1889, Louis’s health was deteriorating. He had suffered a couple
of minor strokes and also he started to wander off. One day, Louis had wandered off to a town called La Havre.
Everyone was frantic about his disappearance and wondered where he could have gone. Finally, Louis contacted
his family in Lisieux and his family went to La Havre and brought him back home. After this incident, the family
was very worried that he would wander off again.
On February 12, 1889, a decision was made for Louis to be sent to a psychiatric hospital called Bon-Sauveur
(Holy Savior) ran by the Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul in Caen. A few days later on the 19th, Léonie and
Céline left Lisieux and went to Caen to be with their father. They made arrangements to stay with the Sisters
of St. Vincent de Paul. Each day, Léonie and Céline would go to see Sister Costard and ask her about their
father’s condition. The sisters only allowed Léonie and Céline to see their father once a week, which was at
times very difficult on both of them.
After only staying in Caen for three months, at the advice of their uncle, Isidore, Léonie and Céline returned
home to Lisieux on May 14th. Each week, Léonie and Céline would leave Lisieux and travel to Caen to see
their father. Léonie would also visit the sisters at the Visitation convent because her heart was still set on
becoming a nun at the Visitation.
Léonie and Céline traveled with their uncle and aunt to Paris that May. There they all were entertained at
the World’s Fair and were present at the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower. They also visited Notre-Dame des
Victoires (Our Lady of Victory) where Léonie and Céline lit a candle for their sister Thérèse and prayed for
their father’s well being. Traveling to Tours and Lourdes, Léonie went into to the baths at Lourdes praying
to be cured. Weeks after returning to Lisieux, on June 7th, Léonie and Céline moved into their uncle Isidore
and aunt Elisa-Céline's house.
The house, the entire family knew, as their beloved home, was coming to an end. The lease on Les
Buissonnets came to an ended on December 25th, and it was not going to be renewed. Isidore Guérin,
the sisters’ uncle, made arrangements for the furniture to be sent to his house and also to the Carmelite
monastery where Marie, Pauline and Thérèse were living as nuns.
On October 17, 1890, Léonie and Céline, along with the Guérins, traveled to Paray-le-Monial to celebrate
the anniversary of Saint Margaret Mary (Sacred Heart of Jesus). There she prayed to Saint Margaret Mary
for intercession to be reunited with her sisters at the Visitation monastery in Caen.
During the course of three years while Louis was staying at Bon-Sauveur in Caen, he suffered another stroke.
Louis became paralyzed as a result of this last stroke. So, the family decided to bring him back to Lisieux on
May 10, 1892. Isidore arranged for Louis, Léonie and Céline to live in a house that was very close to his
house at 7 rue Labbey (Labbey street). Léonie and Céline took very special care of their father while he
On June 23, 1893, Léonie traveled to Caen to go on a retreat at the Visitation monastery. During her retreat,
she approached the Mother Superior and told her she wanted to enter the Visitation monastery again. The
Mother Superior agreed and Léonie’s uncle, Isidore, gave her his permission. On June 24, 1893, Léonie entered
into the religious life once more making it her third attempt. She became very content at her new home. It was
Léonie as well as her sisters’ wishes that she become a nun, because they knew that she had great virtues of
humility. In February of 1894, Léonie was accepted to receive the habit; however, due to an unforeseen illness
of their priest, her ceremony was delayed. On April 6th, Léonie received the habit as well as the name of Sister
Thérèse-Dosithée by Bishop Hugonin who conducted the ceremony. Céline and her cousins were also in
During the latter weeks of July 1894, Louis’s health took a turn for the worst; he suffered from another heart
attack. The doctor came to examine him and told Céline that her father was dying. A priest was called and the
last rites were given to him. On July 29th, Louis died in the presence of his daughter Céline and his soul
ascended to heaven. His funeral was conducted on August 4th. After Louis’s funeral, Isidore decided that
the rest of the family, which was previously buried in Alençon, should be brought to Lisieux. The arrangements
were made and a small ceremony took place when Azélie and the rest of the family were buried next to Louis.
Léonie was not able to attend her father’s funeral because she was in the Visitation monastery. Céline did,
however, visit her sister every day after their father’s death when she was visiting her cousin Jeanne who also
lived in Caen. These visits by Céline were to be her last to Léonie. Céline, too, sought out the religious life.
On September 14th, she entered the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux.
In early spring of 1895, Sister Marie de Sales Lefrançois was elected the new mother superior for the
Visitation monastery. Mother Marie de Sales viewed the rule differently than her predecessor; she felt that
their monastery should be more observant to the stricter guidelines of the Rule of the Visitation. As a result,
Léonie, as well as her fellow postulants, found it increasingly difficult to follow the rigors of the rules. By late
spring, Mother Marie de Sales decided to postpone Léonie’s profession at the advisement of the mistress of the
novices. As a result of this postponement, Léonie was seeking a transfer to the Visitation convent in Le Mans.
This was the same convent where her aunt, Sister Marie-Dosithée became a nun. But based on the
encouragement of her sisters, Léonie stayed at the monastery in Caen and endured. Thérèse, as well as her
other sisters, were consoling and counseling her and teaching her how to endure her many hardships by bringing
her further to the way of perfection. Léonie’s greatest fears had turned into reality. Due to the stricter adherence
to the rule of the Visitation, Léonie, as well as some of her other sisters at the monastery were asked to leave.
On July 20, 1895, Isidore went to Caen to pick-up Léonie and bring her back to Lisieux. Upon returning, Léonie
went to visit her sisters at the Carmelite monastery. This was one of the saddest times of her life. She cried so
much that it was difficult for her to speak to them. Léonie’s aunt Elisa-Céline and uncle Isidore welcomed her
back with open arms into their home. The relationship between Léonie and her aunt and uncle were very close.
But the pressures of the world outside the convent were becoming very difficult for her to handle. There were
more temptations for her to stray away from the religious lifestyle that she had become accustomed to when she
was in the monastery.
Thérèse continued to counsel Léonie to the way of perfection even though she was no longer at the monastery.
This close relationship was very common to the both of them because Thérèse had helped her before during
their childhood. Thérèse was very patient with Léonie when she taught her. Léonie responded positively to
Thérèse authority over her. Thérèse encouraged Léonie to continue to detach herself from worldly possessions,
which obviously is difficult for anyone to overcome. Thérèse remarked: “You have no lack of small sacrifices,
my dear Léonie, is not your life made up of them? I rejoice to see such a treasure before you, especially when I
realize that you know how to put it to profit, not only for yourself, but even more for souls.” (CL)
Sadly, Léonie’s days of being counseled by Thérèse were slowly coming to a close. Thérèse had contracted
tuberculosis and at that time it was seen as an incurable disease. All of the Martin sisters were greatly distressed
over the thought of losing their beloved sister. Léonie looked upon Thérèse’s disease, as the divine will of God.
So she prepared herself for the impending loss of her sister.
On July 2, 1897, it was the last time that Léonie was able to see her sister Thérèse in person. Thérèse became
too ill to do anything and she was moved into the infirmary. Due to the Carmelite Rule, Léonie was not allowed
to go into the infirmary. However, Thérèse made every effort through her sisters Marie, Pauline and Céline to
continue to counsel her. Everything that Thérèse said was written down and passed onto Léonie. Thérèse wrote
her final letter to Léonie on July 17th stating: “If you want to become a saint, it will be easy, because in the depths
of your heart the world means nothing to you…I mean that while you give yourself devotedly to external works,
you have but one goal: to give pleasure to Jesus and to be united more intimately with Him.” (CL) Léonie
continued with her desire from childhood to become a great saint. She asked her sister Thérèse, that when she
went to heaven, to plead her case for her to the dear Lord to lead her on the path of becoming a great saint.
Written by: R Hann
Abbé Combes, ed. Collected Letters Of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux . (CL)
New York: Sheed & Ward, 1949.
Dolan, Albert H. Rev.. Collected Little Flower Works. Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1929.
---. The Little Flower’s Mother. Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1929. (CW)
---. God Made The Violet Too: Life of Léonie, Sister of St. Thérèse. (GV)
Chicago: Carmelite Press, 1948.
Piat, Stéphanie Fr. The Story Of A Family: The Home of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. (SF)
Trans: Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey. Rockford, Ill.: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1948.
|Sister Francoise Therese
Marie Leonie Martin
"God's Little Violet"
|"My dear aunt, when you are in Heaven, please ask God to give me the grace of conversion, and also give
me a vocation to be a true religious, because I think about it everyday." - Sister Francoise Therese
|© Monastery of the Visitation in Caen
|"God's Little Violet"
|Eric Gaba (Wikimedia Commons user: Sting)
|Receive yours today!
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|In Need of a Prayer?
|15 years ago, the crypt was made available
for pilgrims to come and visit her tomb to
pray for their intentions.