Leonie Martin's complete letters to her family (1874-1941) published online in English by the Carmel of Lisieux - April 11, 2015

The last photo of sister francoise-therese (Leonie )martin), taken in 1940

The last photo of sister francoise-therese (Leonie )martin), taken in 1940

Today the Carmel of Lisieux finished publishing online in English all the surviving letters St. Therese's sister, Leonie Martin, wrote to the members of her family.  The letters are available at the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.  Leonie, then aged 10, wrote the first surviving letter to her mother in 1874, when she was at the boarding school run by the Visitation nuns at Le Mans.  She wrote the last on June 8, 1941, eight days before her death, to Sister Marie of the Trinity, who had been a novice of St. Therese.

Relatively few of the letters Leonie wrote during the lifetime of St. Therese have survived.  But the Carmel has today published a treasure trove of her later years: 315 letters Leonie wrote to her family after she entered the Visitation in 1899.  Most of them are to her three sisters at Lisieux Carmel (Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart; Mother Agnes of Jesus; and Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face).  Several are to her uncle, Isidore Guerin.  There are also letters to his wife, Celine Guerin; to their daughter Marie (Sister Marie of the Eucharist); and to Therese's prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague.  These hundreds of letters, never before published in English, contain invaluable insight into Leonie's personality; her spirituality, prayer, and retreats; her daily life and the life of her Visitation community; her relationships with her three sisters in the Carmel;  her reaction to Therese's beatification and canonization; and her response to World War I and World War II.

We congratulate the Carmel of Lisieux and the Association des Amis de Thérèse de Lisieux et de son Carmel on this historic achievement, and we thank them for their generosity.  You will not be able to absorb all these riches at one sitting, so begin!  Dive into Leonie's letters now.

A feast-day visit to the home of Blessed Louis Martin at 7 rue Labbey, Lisieux

A happy feast to Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin!  As a feast-day gift to my readers, I have created a photo gallery today of my privileged visit, as a pilgrim to their beatification, to the house and garden at 7 rue Labbey where Louis Martin lived with his daughters Leonie and Celine after he was released from the Bon Sauveur psychiatric hospital at Caen.  For the story of this visit and present-day photos of the house at Rue Labbey and of Isidore Guerin's house on Rue-Paul Banaston, please visit the photo gallery for Blessed Louis Martin's home on Rue Labbey.



See an online exhibit of 116 photos of Lisieux at the time of Therese

To honor the anniversary of the canonization of St. Therese on May 17, 1925, I am happy to present the link to an online exhibit of 116 photos of Lisieux "au temps de Therese."  The photographer, Francois Bidet, operated a pharmacy near that of Isidore Guerin, Therese's uncle. The exhibit is presented by La Bibliotheque Electronique de Lisieux; the photos are the property of the Musee d'art et de histoire de Lisieux, and the accompanying text was written by Jean Bergeret.  You can see the Cathedral Saint-Pierre on the Place Thiers during the bitterly cold winter of 1895; a man begging who could be one of the people helped by the Martin family; a Eucharistic procession in the town square; market day, and many other photos.