Imprimatur granted for a prayer that Léonie Martin, the sister of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, might be declared venerable

On June 16, 2013, the Shrine at Lisieux announced that the beatification of Léonie Martin, sister of St. Thérèse ofLisieux, is under consideration.  Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, bishop of the diocese of Bayeux and Lisieux, granted the imprimatur for a prayer that Léonie might be declared "venerable."  A person named "venerable" by the Church is considered to have practiced "heroic virtue."  St. Thérèse was declared venerable on August 14, 1921 by Pope Benedict XV, after her life had been examined by a diocesan tribunal (the "bishop's process") and by a tribunal appointed by Rome (the "Apostolic Process").   To be declared "venerable" is a big step in the cause for sainthood; the next two steps are to be named "blessed" and to be canonized.  Léonie Martin, born on June 3, 1863 (150 years ago this month),  became a Visitation nun, Sister Françoise-Thérèse, at Caen, where she died on June 17, 1941. 

Please feel free to offer the prayer below to Léonie for your intentions.  Note that to be accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as the miracle that leads to a candidate's being beatified or canonized, a favor must be attributed to the sole intercession of that candidate.  So, if you want to receive the grace that might make Léonie a blessed or a saint, be careful to ask only her, no one else, to intercede with God for your intention.  Of course, if you invoke her with others, God may still send an "unofficial miracle!" 


Dear Léonie our Sister,

You have already intervened with God on our behalf,

and we would  like to be able to pray to you officially,

so that many more might know you.

Come to the aid of parents who risk losing a child,

as you nearly died at a very young age.

Continue to uphold the families

where different generations have problems living together in peace.

Enlighten youth who question their future and hesitate to commit.

Show to all the way of prayer

which permits you to bear your limitations and your difficulties with confidence,

and to give yourself to others.

Lord, if such is your will,

deign to accord us the grace that we ask of you

through the intercession of your servant Léonie,

and inscribe her among the number of the venerable of your Church.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Imprimatur: March 25, 2012

†  Jean-Claude Boulanger

    Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux

Persons who receive favors by the intercession of Léonie Martin,

in religion Sister Françoise-Thérèse,

are asked to make them known to the Monastery of the Visitation:

Monastery of the Visitation

3 rue de l’Abbatiale

14000 CAEN


translated by Maureen O'Riordan


To learn more:

1.  See almost all the information and photos available online in English aboutLéonie.

2.  To learn about the spirituality of Léonie's religious community, the Visitation Order, I highly recommend the book "Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction," selected and introduced by Joseph F. Power, O.S.F.S. and Wendy M. Wright; translated by Péronne Marie Thibert, VHM; and with a preface by Henri J. M. Nouwen (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1988).  The Visitation was founded by Jane de Chantal; Francis de Sales, who shared its vision with Jane, was closely associated with the community.  The spirituality of the Visitation was important to the Martin family.  Léonie's aunt Elise was Sister Marie Dosithée at the Visitation of Le Mans, where Marie and Pauline Martin, the two oldest daughters, were boarding pupils.  Léonie was there for a short time, but was dismissed because of her special needs.  Later Léonie entered the Visitation Monastery at Caen several times; her third and definitive entry was in 1899.

This book contains letters Jane and Francis wrote over many years to persons to whom they gave spiritual direction.  It includes many letters from Francis to Jane.  "Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction" is one of my desert-island books.  Wendy Wright's comprehensive introduction is widely considered one of the very best English-language introductions to the spirituality of Jane and Francis and of the Visitation.  It is a remarkable book in its own right and a superb way to understand many of the influences that surrounded Léonie and Thérèse.