Ep. 7 – A Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Fr. Timothy Gallagher OMVA Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Episode 7

In this episode, Fr. Gallagher shares some of the letters that Léonie wrote to her sisters later in her life which reflects her perception of herself during earlier years.

Then we hear of Léonie’s first attempt to enter into religious life as told by her sister, St. Therese.  The Martin family visits Alençon with Marie so she may visit her mother’s gravesite for the last time prior to her entrance into the Carmelites of Lisieux.  Léonie goes to the Poor Clare Monastery that she used to visit with Zélie.  To the surprise of her family, they find that she has been accepted into the Poor Clare novitiate.  This is rather a shocking development to the family members. Will this be something that will work out for Léonie?

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 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.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Understanding Closed Doors: Reflect on a time in your life when you faced a closed door or setback that initially seemed disappointing or painful. How did you respond to this situation? Did you eventually see how it led you to where you are meant to be?
  2. Trusting God’s Plan: Léonie’s attempt to enter the monastery ended in disappointment, yet it ultimately led her to a different path. How can we deepen our trust in God’s plan, especially when our own plans don’t unfold as expected?
  3. Resilience in Faith: Despite setbacks, Léonie continued to persevere in her faith journey. How can we cultivate resilience in our own spiritual lives, particularly in the face of challenges or failures?
  4. Discernment and Surrender: Reflect on the role of discernment in Léonie’s story. How can we discern God’s will for our lives, and how can we surrender to His guidance even when it diverges from our own desires?
  5. Finding Hope in Disappointment: Léonie experienced tears and disappointment, yet her story offers hope and encouragement. In what ways can we find hope in the midst of our own disappointments or failures?




St. Thérèse

St. Louis Martin

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

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