sister of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Léonie Martin (1863-1941) was
one of the five daughters of Zélie and Louis Martin, who were
canonized by Pope Francis. She was the least gifted of the five
Martin sisters, an emotionally disturbed child who suffered much and
caused much anguish in her family.
Baudouin-Croix has carefully researched Léonie's life, including her
mother's voluminous correspondence about her family life. In letters
to her daughters, sister, brother, and sister-in-law, Zélie confided
the challenges she faced in raising L‚onie. Yet Léonie was the
first one in the Martin family to understand and to follow Thérèse's
three valiant but unsuccessful attempts to enter consecrated
religious life, Léonie was finally accepted by the Visitation Order
in Caen. As a Visitation nun she succeeded in conquering a difficult
temperament and other personal challenges, so that by the time of her
death at seventy-eight years old she was regarded by many as a saint.
Her convent at Caen has been inundated with letters testifying to her
posthumous intercessory aid.
did this troubled child turn into the nun remembered by many as so
kind, serene, and happy that they could not believe she had such a
difficult childhood? She discovered God within herself, in her
weakness and suffering, and she became a great disciple of Thérèse's
"way of confidence and love". Léonie practiced the Little
Way so deeply that in 2015 the cause for her sainthood was officially
opened by the Church.