A Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Episode 6
In this episode, Zélie’s battle with cancer ends with her death. Now a great time of transition begins for the entire Martin family, especially for Léonie. The family moves from Alcon to Lisieux to be closer to Zélie’s brother, Isidore, and his wife, Celine. Per one of Zélie’s dying wishes, Celine lovingly becomes like a second mother to the girls.
Something remarkable is beginning to occur at this time. Léonie, over the course of several years, successfully attends a Benedictine boarding school located in Lisieux. She begins to express herself with loving affection to others and expresses hope for the future. Her family shares their belief that this “change” is due to Zélie’s heavenly intercession for her daughter. However, this is also a time of uncertainty and some sadness for Léonie. While her sister’s lives are moving forward, her life remains unclear. What will become of poor Léonie as she begins adulthood.
Fr. Gallagher says, “Léonie’s life holds a very important story because she was the forgotten one; she was the one who was in the last place; she was the one who was less gifted than the others. Today we would call her a ‘problem child,’ and we’ll see that she certainly was the source of great anxiety to her parents, especially to her mother, Zélie, who loved her dearly.”
As a child, Léonie suffered from severe illnesses and physical maladies that would plague her entire life. She also struggled with understanding social clues and interactions and with behaving appropriately. Conventional educational models of the day failed to meet her particular needs, and she was labeled “developmentally delayed.” Yet those who knew her well described her as having a “heart of gold”.
Who was Léonie and what were her struggles? Why has her cause of canonization begun? Father Gallagher, along with Kris McGregor, answers these questions and explains why Léonie is “a bearer of hope” in this landmark series.
Leonie's parents - Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin
Léonie's Uncle Isidore Guérin
Léonie's Aunt Celine Guérin
Léonie's Cousin Jeanne Guérin
Léonie's Cousin Marie Guérin
A resource used for this series
Images in this post of the Martin/Guerin family are used with permission from the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux website for strictly non-commercial use. We encourage you to visit the website for more information on this remarkable family.
For more series Fr. Timothy Gallagher podcasts visit here
Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life: The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit his website: frtimothygallagher.org