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Father Anthony Ho

Therese prayed for Leonie's vocation 

Voices June 5, 2018

Leonie Martin was known as the "difficult sister" in the Martin family,  but after her mother's death her love for her family grew and she eventually entered the Visitation Order in the city of Caen. (Society of the Little Flower)

Azelie, the mother of St. Therese, was very sick with cancer. She and her three oldest daughters went to Lourdes to pray for healing. At Lourdes, Azelie was taken into the waters of Lourdes and she also prayed earnestly for a cure. But she also prayed that if it is not the will of God to cure her, to cure her daughter Leonie instead and to make her a saint.

Azelie felt that she would gladly give her life up to God if Leonie was cured and made a saint. Before Azelie’s death, her daughter Marie promised her that she would take care of Leonie. Azelie died on Aug. 28, 1877.

After the death of Azelie, the Martin family moved to Lisieux. Leonie’s heart began developing a greater love for her family; changes were taking place in all parts of her life. Everyone in the family saw this positive change in her, especially Marie. She felt that it was their mother who was helping Leonie’s heart evolves into a beautiful young lady. Louis, her father, commonly referred to her as his “Good Leonie.” She made every effort to express her love for others and to continue to make small sacrifices on their behalf.

In October 1886, Leonie decided to enter a Poor Clare monastery. However, the rigors of the rule of the Poor Clares were too much for her physical body to handle. She left the Poor Clares on Dec. 1 of the same year.

On July 16, 1887, Leonie entered the Visitation Order in the city of Caen. However, poor health forced her to return home on Jan. 6, 1888. In the same year on April 9, Léonie’s youngest sister, Therese, entered the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux.

On June 23, 1893, Leonie traveled to Caen to go on a retreat at the Visitation monastery. During her retreat, she approached the Mother Superior and told her she wanted to enter the Visitation monastery again. The Mother Superior agreed and on June 24, 1893, Leonie entered into the religious life once more making it her third attempt.

In early spring of 1895, there was a new Mother Superior for the Visitation monastery. The new superior decided their monastery should be more observant to the stricter guidelines of the Rule of the Visitation. As a result, Leonie, as well as her fellow postulants, found it increasingly difficult to follow the rigors of the rules. Due to the stricter adherence to the rule of the Visitation, Leonie, as well as some of her other sisters at the monastery, were asked to leave.

On July 20, 1895, her uncle, Isidore, went to Caen to pick up Leonie and bring her back to Lisieux. Upon returning, Leonie went to visit her sisters at the Carmelite monastery. This was one of the saddest times of her life. She cried so much that it was difficult for her to speak to them.

Therese continued to counsel Leonie in the way of perfection. She encouraged Leonie to continue to detach herself from worldly possessions. During Therese’s final illness, Leonie asked Therese to plead her case when she reached heaven, requesting that the dear Lord lead her on the path of becoming a great saint.

Some weeks before the death of Therese, she had a conversation with her sister Marie. Therese stated that after her death, Leonie would be reunited with her sisters at the Visitation in Caen. She also stated that Leonie would be there serving God until her death. 

After the death of Therese, a new Mother Superior was elected at the Visitation monastery. She brought a different adaptation to the Visitation Rule, which in turn allowed Leonie and her fellow sisters who left previously an opportunity to come back.

Leonie entered the Visitation monastery for the final time on Jan. 30, 1899, and took the name Sister Françoise-Thérèse.

 

                                                                                                                                             小德蘭為萊奧妮的聖召祈禱 

小德蘭的母親薛妮癌病嚴重,帶同三個較年長的女兒到露德祈禱病癒。在露德,薛妮在水池裡,她熱切祈求自己能恢復健康的身體。但她也祈求如果不是天主的意願要治癒她,就讓女兒萊奧妮得到治癒,並使她成聖人。 薛妮願意為此而交出自己的性命。去世前,大女兒瑪利亞答應好好照顧萊奧妮。薛妮死於1877年8月28日。薛妮死後,瑪爾定整家搬到里修。

萊奧妮漸漸長大,明顯在各方面都有正面的轉變,變得珍惜自己,愛家人。姐姐瑪利亞尤其注意到,認為是母親在天堂上幫助妹妹變成一位美麗的少女。父親、類斯稱萊奧妮是「善良的萊奧妮」。事實上,萊奧妮常設法表達對其他人的愛,會為他們做小克苦。

1886年10月,萊奧妮要進安貧嘉辣會修院,但修會嚴厲的克苦,並不適合萊奧妮潺弱的身體,所以在12月1日便離開。

1887年7月16日,萊奧妮進入卡昂的聖母往見會修院;可惜,又因為她健康的問題而要在1888年1月6日離開。同年的4月9日,妹妹德蘭進入立斯的加爾默羅修院。

1893年6月23日,萊奧妮到卡昂的聖母往見會修院退省,她向修女院長請求加入聖母往見會;院長答應了。於是,1893年6月24日,萊奧妮作第三次嘗試渡修道生活。

1895年初春,修長由另一位修女接任;她強調修會較嚴格的指引應該完全徹底遵守;結果,令萊奧妮和一些望會生感到困難,她們被告知要離開。

1895年7月20日,舅父希道到修院接走萊奧妮。回到里修後,她探望在加爾默羅修院的姐妹們。是時,是萊奧妮人生其中最難過的時刻:她泣不成聲。

小德蘭繼續鼓勵萊奧妮走成聖之路和她脫離俗物。當小德蘭病重時,萊奧妮請她在天堂上為自己成聖向天主轉求。

小德蘭病逝前幾星期,她和姐姐瑪利亞的談話中,預稱萊奧妮會和其他修女在卡昂的聖母往見會修院重聚,並說萊奧妮會用她的餘生在那裡侍奉天主。

小德蘭病故,聖母往見會有新修女院長上任,改變了守會規方法,形成萊奧妮和已離開的姊姊能加入的曙光。

1899年1月30日,萊奧妮終於完成她修道的心願,加入了聖母往見會,取名方濟.德蘭修女。