The Cause of the the Servant of God
Sr Françoise-Thérèse (Léonie Martin)
The Cause of the Beatification and Canonisation of the Servant of God Sr Françoise-Thérèse (Léonie Martin), sister of St Thérèse of Lisieux and the third daughter of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin was officially opened by Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger, Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux on 2 July 2015. The process was opened at the Visitation Monastery in Caen in France where Léonie spent her religious life.
On 21 January 2017 after Mass presided over by Bishop Boulanger the body of the Servant of God Sr Françoise-Thérèse, which had been exhumed in 2015 from the original tomb in the crypt in advance of the opening of the Cause, was placed in a new tomb in the Monastery Chapel.
The closing session of the Diocesan process for the Beatification and Canonisation of the Servant of God Sr Françoise-Thérèse, took place on 22 February 2020. The files comprising the work of the Diocesan process (almost 32,000 A4 pages) were brought by Monsignor Jean Claude Boulanger, accompanied by Fr Antonio Sangali, Postulator of the Cause and Fr Olivier Ruffray, Administrator of the Cause to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome on 10 March 2020. The validity of the Diocesan process was promulgated on 13 March 2021 making it a possibility for the work of the Beatification and Canonisation process to move to the next stage. The work is ongoing.
Léonie Martin (1863-1941), the third daughter of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, was born on 3 June 1863 at 15 rue du Pont-Neuf in Alençon. She was christened Marie Léonie in the Church of St Pierre de Monsort in Alençon where all St Thérèse's brothers and sisters were baptised. Later the family moved to 35 rue Saint-Blaise, where St Thérèse was born. St Thérèse was baptised in the Church of Notre-Dame in Alençon, now the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Léonie had a difficult early life - a matter of concern to her mother as is evident in Zélie's letters. After the death of her mother in 1877, the family moved from Alençon and Léonie came with her father and sisters Marie, Pauline, Céline and Thérèse to live in Les Buissonets in Lisieux. It was here in 1883 that Thérèse was cured from a mysterious illness by the Virgin of the Smile. Léonie was in the room at that momentous time. Years later in 1897 Léonie represented the family at the funeral of St Thérèse in Lisieux.
Following a number of setbacks Léonie achieved her wish to live the religious life. She became a Visitation Sister in Caen, taking the name Sr Françoise-Thérèse. She was an ardent follower of the Little Way of her sister St Thérèse.
After the death of Léonie in 1941, devotion to her spread especially among parents. Down the years many people visited her tomb in the crypt of the Visitation Monastery in Caen. Numerous individuals and pilgrim groups continue to come the Monastery Chapel to pray to the Servant of God, to ask for her intercession and to pray for her Beatification and Canonisation.