Léonie Martin – The Lioness Sister of St. Thérèse

The Lioness Sister:  Marie-Léonie Martin
Liguorian - October, 2012

The Middle Sister Of The Martin Family
Next Monday – January 28 - will be the 114th anniversary of Léonie Martin’s final entrance into the Visitandine/Visitation Convent. Léonie was one of St. Thérèse’s four older sisters.  She was nine years older than St. Thérèse and was the Little Flower's Confirmation Sponsor as well.  

Bless her heart ... while her four sisters seemed focused and successfully entered the austere Carmelite Convent, it took Léonie four attempts to find her niche in religious life:

23 Years Old - 1886
Léonie made an abrupt decision to join the Poor Clares in Alençon, France.  She lasted only two months there.

24 Years Old - 1887
About eight months after leaving the Poor Clares, Léonie tried the Visitation Convent in Caen, France.  She left after six months.

30 Years Old - 1893
Six years later, Léonie tried the Visitation Convent in Caen again.  She stayed for two years this time.  It was during this third attempt at religious life that her father, Louis Martin, died.

35 Years Old - Jan. 28, 1899
Léonie made her fourth attempt at religious life and entered the Visitation Convent in Caen for a third time.  It was a little more than a year after St. Thérèse had died and four months after Story of a Soul was published.  Léonie took the religious name of Sister François-Thérèse and remained a Visitation Nun until her death at the age of 78 (June, 1941).

Many have claimed that although Léonie’s life was a difficult one, that she ultimately became saint-like herself.  If you would like to send a prayer request through the intercession of Léonie to the convent where she lived, mail it to:

Monastère de la Visitation
3 rue de L’Abbatiale
14000 CAEN

by Marie Baudouin-Croix

God Made the Violet Too: Life of Léonie, the Sister of St. Thérèse
by Rev. Albert H. Dolan, O. Carm. (1948)


  1. On June 16, 2013, the Shrine at Lisieux announced that the beatification of Leonie is under consideration. Please see the story at http://tinyurl.com/Leonie2 Please support the cause with your prayers. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so VERY much for your great comment, Maureen! You are such a good support for the whole Martin family! What wonderful news about Léonie!

  2. Thank you very much. Oh, yes, wonderful news! Did you know that you can now read Father Albert Dolan's 1943 book about Leonie, "God Made the Violet, Too" online at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89081847527;view=1up;seq=7 Thanks to the Hathitrust Digital Library!

    1. Thanks again, Maureen! I added a link to Fr. Dolan's book to the posting, I look forward to reading it! I'm so glad that you shared this wonderful information!


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