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 walk.
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 new surroundings.
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 aunt.
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 aunt’s death.
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 her.
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 mother’s place. Carmel de Lisieux
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
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
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. Carmel de Lisieux
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
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
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 was incapacitated.
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 attendance.
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
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.
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|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
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|"God's Little Violet"
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