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
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
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. Carmel de Lisieux
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.
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 Carmel de Lisieux
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-
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
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
|June 3, 1863 - June 17, 1941
Leonie Martin: A Difficult Life
By: Marie Baudouin-Croix
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Veritas Publications;
illustrated edition edition
(December 31, 2004)