Léonie! ~ A Movie About the Hidden Sister of St.Thérèse

I've been wanting to see this movie for so long.  Finally, I learned from Maureen at ThereseOfLisieux.org that it is available from Ignatius Press, so ordered it right away!  I have thought much about this sister ... this middle sister of St. Thérèse's family ... who even though she was Thérèse's Confirmation Sponsor, is very often overlooked in literature on her famous sister, St.Thérèse.  

If you have a difficult child, feel like the odd one out in your family, or struggle with your vocation, you would probably appreciate this movie.  Don't expect famous actors or a high cost production.  However, do expect a heartwarming story - a true story - that shares the life of a sister of the famous saint, St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  It will give you hope, courage, and inspiration that with prayer and trust in God, all will be well.  Despite the difficulties that life presents.

After a troubled and difficult childhood, little Léonie made a handful of attempts to enter religious life, but struggled to fit in and keep up with the rules.  Plus, her health was not the best.  Finally, at the age of 35, she became a Visitation Nun in Caen, France and chose "Sister Francois-Thérèse" for her religious name.  St. Thérèse had already died, and Léonie's three remaining sisters were in the Carmelite Convent in Lisieux.  The photo above is from the movie and illustrates a celebration that took place at the Visitation Monastery in 1925 when Léonie's younger sister (by 10 years), Thérèse, was canonized a saint. The actress playing Léonie is at the bottom left of the photo ... in real life, Léonie was 62 years old by this time and hunched over from poor health.

As the world came to know and love St. Thérèse, some became curious about Léonie as well.  However, Sr. Francoise-Thérèse wanted to remain hidden and obscure.  The scene above from the movie shares of a funny (and true) incident when Léonie was serving as the portress of the convent and a priest came to the door asking to see the sister of St. Thérèse (not realizing that he was speaking to her!).  Léonie dodged the priest by telling him that the Mother Superior would have to be asked, and added that meeting Sr. Francoise-Thérèse (Léonie) would really not be worth his effort.  The priest was astonished to find out later that the nun he was speaking to was Léonie herself!