Bishop Boulanger requests permission to open diocesan process for sainthood of Leonie Martin, sister of St. Therese of Lisieux; French press reports he will announce on January 24, 2015 in Caen

On Saturday, January 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, Mgr. Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, will announce that he has requested permission to open the diocesan process of beatification for Léonie Martin, the sister of St. Therese of Lisieux, according to stories in the French press.  La Manche Libre, Le Pays d'Auge, Normandie Actuand the French Catholic newspaper La Croix reported the news.  According to these reports, Father Laurent Berthout, the bishop's press officer, said:

“For many years, people have entrusted themselves to the prayers of Léonie Martin, coming to her tomb at the Monastery of the Visitation, where she was a nun from 1899 to 1941. These persons witness to graces they have received through her intercession. Léonie Martin lived a simple, hidden, humble life in the shadow of the cloister. She wanted to live the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, doing “all through love, nothing through force” in the words of St. Francis. She was blessed by the spiritual discovery of her sister, St. Therese, who taught her to live by Love in the most humble and the most everyday actions. Leonie gave witness by her life to the possibility of living it fully, even through her limitations: character, health, trials.

The French press reports that, when he celebrates Mass tomorrow at the Monastery of the Visitation in Caen, where Leonie was a nun from 1899 to 1941, Bishop Boulanger will announce that he has requested from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome permission to open the process for Leonie in his diocese.  He has the opinion of the bishops' conference of Normandy, and he is writing a letter to the Congregation asking for this permission.  He will officially confer on Léonie  the title "Servant of God."  Before the process may actually be opened, we must wait for the Congregation to give the "nihil obstat."

The opening of the diocesan process (an inquiry into the life and writings of the candidate for sainthood) is the beginning of a long procedure that, for some candidates, leads ultimately to canonization.  The diocesan process for Therese was opened by an earlier bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux in 1910, and Léonie  testified at it.