Léonie Martin, the sister of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
In decades of studying Saint Thérèse and her family, I have been especially interested in her middle sister, Léonie, and have wanted to make her better known in the English-speaking world. So, when I was in Lisieux in October 2008 for the beatification of their parents, Louis and Zélie Martin, I took the train to Caen to visit the Monastery of the Visitation, where Léonie entered in 1899 and lived till her death in 1941. The nuns received me with the utmost kindness and gave me permission to get the death notice, a "life of Léonie" the Monastery had written and circulated at Léonie's death, translated into English and to publish it at www.thereseoflisieux.org. When our conference was complete, they allowed me to pray alone for some time by Léonie's tomb in the crypt of the Monastery. I had brought with me the prayer cards and medals I had touched to the reliquary of Léonie's parents; I spread them out on the tomb and then sat down to pray, seeking to be a channel of the love of so many Americans for Léonie. I was far from expecting any personal graces, but suddenly I remembered all the places in my life where I had been deeply hurt, and I felt Léonie, who was treated so badly, assuring me that the wounds these experiences had left were no obstacle to sanctity. This grace strengthened my desire to make Léonie, so different from Thérèse and yet the fervent disciple of her way of confidence and love, known and loved still more.
Juan Marrero, an American most devoted to Thérèse and to Léonie who has translated important documents for this Web site, translated into English the "life of Léonie" the Visitation had written. When I learned that Holy Trinity Productions was producing a feature film on Léonie's life, I decided to create a section of this Web site for Léonie and to publish the death notice, with other information about Léonie, when the film was released. It premieres in Michigan on August 1, 2011.
"Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway" wants to bring together all the information available about Leonie and to add to it. Below you will find the Visitation's "Life of Léonie," information about the film "Léonie!", and photos and other information about the real-life Léonie.
- An English translation of the life of Léonie Martin, Sister Françoise-Thérèse, written and circulated by the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen, illustrated with many previously unseen photographs. I thank the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen, translator Juan Marrero, and everyone else who contributed to making this gift available to you.
- From the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux:
- For information and to order the film "Leonie!" on DVD, click here.
- A photo gallery of Léonie Martin with 85 photos, many previously unseen, of Léonie and her milieu.
- An 18-minute photo show about Léonie's parents, Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, and her family.
- Photo galleries of the same photos, many unpublished and from an exposition at Lisieux..
- Learn still more about the real Léonie Martin.