Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway
June 25, 2013

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Just when I thought my hands were full with the rapid progress of the cause of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin and with writing about St. Therese, I learned that the beatification of Leonie is in view!  This special issue contains the authorized prayer for her to be declared "venerable."

 Look for more about Leonie in the future.  As the figure of Leonie moves from the shadows of history into the light of faith, may she draw you along the way of confidence and love she lived so generously. 

with all good wishes,

Maureen O'Riordan
Leonie Martin's first step to sainthood: bishop grants imprimatur for prayer
Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, granted the imprimatur for a prayer
that Leonie be declared venerable
Leonie Martin, Sister Francoise-Therese
Leonie Martin, Sister Francoise-Therese

Dear Léonie our Sister,

You have already intervened with God on our behalf,
and we would  like to be able to pray to you officially,

so that many more might know you.

Come to the aid of parents who risk losing a child,

as you nearly died at a very young age.

Continue to uphold the families

where different generations  

have problems living together in peace.

Enlighten youth who question their future  

and hesitate to commit.

Show to all the way of prayer
which permits you to bear your limitations
and your difficulties with confidence,

and to give yourself to others.

Lord, if such is your will,
deign to accord us the grace that we ask of you
through the intercession of your servant Léonie, and

inscribe her among the number of the venerable of your Church.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Imprimatur: March 25, 2012

+ Jean-Claude Boulanger
    Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux


Persons who receive favors
by the intercession of Léonie Martin,
in religion Sister Françoise-Thérèse,
are asked to make them known  

to the Monastery of the Visitation:


Monastery of the Visitation 
3 rue de l'Abbatiale 
14000 CAEN  


translated by Maureen O'Riordan
Permission is granted to reproduce the prayer.
The first step toward introducing Leonie's cause for beatification
Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux
Mgr Boulanger
On June 16, 2013, I learned from the Shrine at Lisieux that the beatification of  Léonie Martin, sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is under consideration.  On March 25, 2012, Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of the diocese of Bayeux and Lisieux, granted the imprimatur for a prayer that Léonie might be declared "venerable."  A person named "venerable" by the Church is considered to have practiced "heroic virtue." 

St. Thérèse was declared venerable on August 14, 1921 by Pope Benedict XV, after her life had been examined by a diocesan tribunal (the "bishop's process") and by a tribunal appointed by Rome (the "Apostolic Process").    To be declared "venerable" is a big step in the cause for sainthood; the next two steps are to be named "blessed" and to be canonized. 

Please do offer the prayer to  Léonie for your intentions.  Note that to be accepted as the miracle that leads to a candidate's being beatified or canonized, a favor must be attributed to the sole intercession of that candidate.  So, if you want to receive the grace that might make Léonie a blessed or a saint, be careful to ask only her, no one else, to intercede with God for your intention. 

Of course, if you invoke her with others, God may still send an "unofficial miracle!" 

The people have recognized Leonie for a long time.  Since at least 1960, the nuns of the Visitation have received countless letters reporting favors from Leonie and asking the nuns to pray to her for many different intentions, especially for the needs of families and special children and of persons who, like Leonie, have a hard time finding their vocation.  Leonie is very close to me, and I have long had a great desire for her spirituality to be known and loved.  Please pray for that intention.

Leonie's star is at last rising in the Church.  Mgr Boulanger is described as her "ardent advocate."  And, at the conclusion of the diocesan tribunal that examined a miracle for Louis and Zelie Martin on May 21, 2013, Father Antonio Sangalli, the vice-postulator, said "This exceptional couple  educated not only the most famous of their five daughters, Therese, but also the other four, especially Leonie.  She was a child who presented problems.  Almost seventy-two years after her 'entry into life,' she is surrounded by a true reputation for sanctity.  I hope that without delay we can open a process of beatification and canonization for her, as innumerable letters ask us to do."  (Famille Chretienne, no. 1847, 8-14 Juin 2013).    
Photograph of Leonie as a laywoman
Who is Leonie, our intercessor?
 See almost all one can find online about Leonie: photographs of Leonie and her milieu, short online biographies; Fr. Albert Dolan's 1943 book, "God Made the Violet, Too: Leonie, Sister of St. Therese," which you can now read online; and Leonie's testimony about St. Therese at the diocesan process.
We want translators
With the movement in Leonie's cause and the rapid progress of the cause of her mother and father, news and resources appear often in French.  I have permission to publish some of them in English, but I need translators.  If you can translate something from French to English or vice versa, please let me know.  We also need translators for Spanish and Italian.  Thank you.