"On Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. in the chapel of the Visitation Monastery 3, rue l'Abbatiale in CAEN
Mgr. Jean-Claude Boulanger (bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux) will preside at the opening of the process for the beatification of Sister Françoise-Thérèse Martin (Leonie Martin), who died in this monastery on June 17, 1941.
Mass will be celebrated after the opening ceremony.
You are cordially invited to come and unite with us in thanksgiving and to share our prayer."
- From the nuns of the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen
The process will be opened on the 115th anniversary of Leonie's religious profession in the very chapel where she made her vows as a Visitation nun on July 2, 1900 Who could have foreseen the fruits of that day? We thank God for drawing so many little souls to the divine Heart through Leonie.
The servant of god, sister francoise-therese (leonie Martin) credit: Monastery of the visitation at Caen
Lord our God,
Through the example of “the Servant of God, Sister Françoise-Thérèse,” Léonie Martin, daughter of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin and sister of St. Thérèse, You have given us an understanding of the mercy and the tenderness of Your Love.
You watched over her fragile health from the first hours of her life. You supported her in the difficult times of her childhood and adolescence.
You called her to the consecrated life, and You sustained her on the delicate path of her response.
You inspired her to lead a hidden life, humble and a gift to your Love, as a Visitation nun at Caen, accepting her limitations.
Lord, if such is your will, Deign to grant us the grace that we ask of you (…….) through the intercession of "the Servant of God, Sister Françoise-Thérèse.”
May she, one day, be counted among the Venerables of your Church.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Testimonies of graces received should be sent to
Monastery of the Visitation 3 Rue de l’Abbatiale 14000 Caen, France
+ Imprimatur: Jean-Claude Boulanger, Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux
We thank Bishop Boulanger for his gracious permission to translate this prayer into English and to publish it. Permission is granted to publish this translation of the prayer in its entirety, without alteration. Please include the phrase "translated for leoniemartin.org." If you repost the prayer online or circulate it by e-mail, please include a live link to leoniemartin.org. Thank you.
Toward Beatification: The Body of Léonie Martin is Exhumed at Caen, France
Ever since Saturday, April 25, 2015, the crypt where the body of Léonie Martin (1863-1941), sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, rested is no longer a place of contemplation and prayer for pilgrims.
The tomb in the crypt of the Visitation Monastery at Caen where the body of Leonie Martin, Sister Francoise-Therese, rested from 1941 until her body was exhumed on April 25, 2015
Long a true place of worship located within the Monastery of the Visitation, behind the City Hall of Caen, the place is now closed to the faithful. The exhumation of her body is the first clear sign of the launch of the process of the beatification of Léonie Martin, which was announced in January by Bishop Boulanger, Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux.
Seventy-three years after her death, the body of Léonie Martin has been exhumed to make “an official examination of the mortal remains,” said Father Olivier Ruffray, rector of the Shrine at Lisieux. An historical commission will also begin work to collect all the documents and all the testimony about Léonie Martin’s life. Theologians will then have the task of examining “Léonie’s reputation for holiness.”
Father Antonio Sangalli, vice-postulator for Blessed Louis and Zelie, appointed postulator for Leonie's cause
“It can take a very long time,” said Father Ruffray. A postulator has been appointed to monitor the various stages of the beatification process. This is Father Antonio Sangalli, a priest of Italian origin. He is also the vice-postulator of the cause for canonization of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of Léonie and of Thérèse.
Father Sangalli, Postulator of Leonie Martin's cause, with Msgr Ennio Apeciti of the historical commission at the exhumation of Leonie's body, April 25, 2015.
Father Antonio Sangalli, Leonie's postulator , with Msgr Ennio Apeciti of the historical commission.
Msgr Ennio Apeciti of the historical commission; Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux; and Fr. Olivier Ruffray, rector of the Shrine at Lisieux, at the exhumation of Leonie's body, April 25, 2015.
The original coffin-plate of Leonie Martin, which was supplied by the funeral director in 1941, photographed after the exhumation, April 25, 2011. It gives her religious and civil names and the years of her birth and death.
I am delighted to announce that "Leonie!," a feature film about Leonie Martin, the sister of St. Therese of Lisieux, is scheduled to be released in the United States in the summer of 2010. The film is being shot in Michigan and at the Visitation Monastery in Toledo, Ohio in July and August 2009. Barbara Middleton is the executive producer, and Joe Maher wrote the script and is directing the film. For news stories and a radio show about the film, please see below.
Today is the birthday of Leonie Martin, the sister of St. Therese, who was born at Alencon on June 3, 1863. Leonie was a special-needs child. When she was a child, Louise Marais, the Martins' maid at Alencon, abused her. Leonie had a hard time finding her place in the world, and entered religious life four times before she finally persevered. She was an early disciple of the "way of confidence and love" of her little sister.
In October 2008 I visited the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen and saw the door through which Leonie entered definitively on January 28, 1899, declaring "The next time I leave here, it will be in my coffin!" Sister Francoise-Therese, the present-day archivist of the community, laughingly pointed out the irony that the body of Leonie, whose religious name was also Sister Francoise-Therese, has never left the Visitation because she was buried in the crypt, where I visited her tomb.
Praying at Leonie's tomb, I received a unique grace. Unexpectedly, I remembered the times in my life that I'd been deeply hurt, and I felt Leonie, who was treated so badly and yet grew into a loving, generative person, assuring me that the wounds these experiences had left were no obstacle to sanctity. I understood why so many parents of special children commend them to her, and why so many people who struggle to find a place in life invoke her prayers.
When Therese lay dying, Leonie, then 34, had failed three attempts at religious life and was living as a laywoman with her uncle and aunt. On July 17, 1897, in her last letter to Leonie, Therese wrote:
The only happiness on earth is to apply oneself in always finding delightful the lot Jesus is giving us. Your lot is so beautiful, dear little sister; if you want to be a saint, this will be easy for you since at the bottom of your heart the world is nothing to you. You can, then, like us [like her four Carmelite sisters] occupy yourself with "the one thing necessary"; that is to say, while you give yourself up devotedly to exterior works, your purpose is simple: to please Jesus, to unite yourself more intimately with Him.
You want me to pray in heaven to the Sacred Heart for you. Be sure that I shall not forget to give Him your messages and to ask all that will be necessary for you to become a great saint.
Leonie was born in the month of the Sacred Heart and died in the same month, on June 16, 1941. In this month of the Sacred Heart, may she help us understand "the abysses of love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus."
Léonie Martin, Disciple and Sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Léonie Martin, the sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, became Sister Françoise-Thérèse of the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen in northern France. Léonie led a challenging life: ill from childhood; abused by a maidservant; expelled from school; isolated within her family. She tried religious life three times before she succeeded: in 1899, at the age of 35, she entered definitively the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen, where she died in 1941 at the age of 78.
How did the troubled child and unhappy teenager turn into the sister everyone remembered as so kind, so serene, and so happy that they could not believe she had had a difficult childhood? As a laywoman, Léonie lived at the margins of her family and her society. She found Christ there and made him the center and the source of her life. She discovered God within herself, in her woundedness, and she became the first disciple of Thérèse's "way of confidence and love."
After her death, Léonie was almost forgotten for a long time. But, about 1960, the nuns of her monastery began to receive letters from all over the world asking them to pray that Léonie might obtain graces for those who wrote. Many of these letters came from the parents of special children, from families in conflict, and from persons who, like Léonie, struggle to find and to fulfill their vocations. These were followed by letters of thanksgiving. Pilgrims come to pray at her tomb, to ask for graces and to give thanks. Now she is being considered for beatifcation. Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, the diocese where Léonie lived most of her life and where she died, has granted the imprimatur for a prayer asking that Léonie might be declared "venerable" (that is, declared to have practced heroic virtue).
Léonie's mission is to draw souls, especially the wounded, the broken, and those who have not found a place in the world, to God. Invite her to accompany you and to lead you to surrender yourself, as she did, to God's "consuming and transforming love."
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