Today, we honour all those who gave their lives in the First World War, and keep the memory of their heroism alive.
April 25th, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) military landing in Gallipoli, Turkey. They were joining an Allied campaign intended to capture the Dardanelles and Constantinople, forcing Turkey to surrender – a campaign which claimed the lives of over 44,150 Allies (21,255 from the United Kingdom alone), and 86,692 soldiers from the Ottoman Empire.
Dug into trenches at the base of steep cliffs and bombarded from above by the Turks, more than eight thousand Australians and almost three thousand New Zealand soldiers lost their lives on this single stretch of beach before a retreat was ordered in December 1915. This retreat was achieved with no casualties, and the ANZAC story has become a vital part of the national identity of Australia and New Zealand.
We’re pleased to bring you a short clip from the Mass on the 22nd of January at which Leonie Martin was declared a Servant of God, and the Cause for her beatification opened. The announcement is in French, so we’ve provided a translation below.
The speech by Monsignor Jean-Claude Boulanger of the Diocese of Bayeux-Lisieux begins:
I have the power to announce to you that on the 18th of December I accepted the request of our Visitation Sisters to open the cause of beatification and of canonisation for Sister Francoise-Therese, known in the world under the name of Leonie Martin, born in 1863, and who entered into life in 1941, to use the expression of her sister Saint Therese.
As of this date, the 18th of December, Sister Francoise-Therese will be known as a Servant of God.
He then states the the bishops of the province of Normandy have given a favourable response to the introduction of this Cause, which will now be taken to Rome in the hope of a declaration of canonization in approximately seven years.
Blessed be God!
We’re excited to inform you that on the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, co-founder of the Visitation Order, our patroness Leonie Martin will receive the title Servant of God at a Mass celebrated by Monsignor Jean-Claude Boulanger of the Diocese of Bayeux-Lisieux.
Mgr Boulanger will formally open the process for her beatification on Saturday the 24th of January in the Monastery of the Visitation in Caen, in which Leonie – Sister Francoise-Therese – lived from 1899 until her death in 1941.
According to the French news website www.ouest-france.fr, it is also a possibility that Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of Saint Therese, will be canonized this year at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family in October. We’ll bring you any further updates on this as we find them!
Here at Leonie’s Longing, we are under the special patronage of the Martin family, particularly its “black sheep” Leonie, and the Church’s recognition of her holiness is a sign of hope for all of us as we overcome the same struggles in discernment that she faced over a hundred years ago. The patron of the awkward, the naturally contrary, those whose personalities didn’t quite “fit” in the convent, those who didn’t get it right the first time (or the second, or the third) but somehow keep crashing their way up the narrow path that leads to heaven – she is the one who is being honoured today with the title Servant of God.
Having struggled her entire adult life to keep an explosive temper under control, making retreat resolutions year after year to become more gentle and humble, Leonie would have been amused and deeply embarrassed had anyone suggested in her lifetime that others might one day pray to her for help – and she would, beyond doubt, only have accepted a title from the Church for the sake of those who would embrace her as a patroness, and not for her own prestige.
Let us pray that the process begun today may reach its fullness in the declaration that Leonie Martin is numbered among the Saints in Heaven, and let us ask her intercession as we, too, search for the vocations to which God has called us as His beloved children.
Servant of God, Sister Francoise-Therese Martin, pray for us!
Saint Therese, pray for us!
Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin, pray for us!
Welcome to 2015! May this truly be a Year of Our Lord!
My name is Theresa and I am the Foundress and President of Leonie’s Longing. As this new year begins, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your prayers and your interest in our ministry. We couldn’t do any of this without your spiritual support!
The Lord has been building Leonie’s Longing for about 2 years and it has truly changed my life. I would never have dreamed that starting a ministry would help me so much. It might sound cliché, but everything I’ve put into Leonie’s Longing has been returned to me 100-fold (at least!).
Initially, I was reluctant to take on this task for a number of reasons. The biggest one was that I felt I was unqualified. Sure, I had been in the convent and returned to the world, but I hadn’t figured everything out yet. As a matter of fact, I felt like a big mess and I certainly didn’t have answers for anyone else. I was the one who needed answers. But as I soon discovered in the most mysterious and beautiful way, all that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I cared enough to do something to attempt to get those answers. Amazingly, creating a place for others to talk out the questions, the struggles, and the challenges of readjusting to the world has been the most beneficial thing I’ve done to help myself readjust to the world!
But the most unexpected and wonderful gift that I have been given through this work is friendship. I have been stunned by the depth and beauty of the relationships God has created through this work. And I am not alone in this work, either. Behind the scenes of Leonie’s Longing is a host of volunteers, much larger than anyone could have imagined! Most of them choose to remain somewhat hidden. But I have the distinct privilege of working with them all and I feel incredibly blessed because of it.
Recently I asked a couple of our volunteers to share their experiences working with Leonie’s Longing. Here’s what they said:
a) Being a part of LL has freed me from so much of the shame and loneliness I felt after leaving religious life. I have realized that I am not alone and have witnessed the power of sharing my own story – which reveals the great work of God in my life, especially in the transition time. In giving my time to LL I have received much more, and I pray that you too will join the Team!
b) Volunteering with Leonie’s Longing has been a way for me to make something beautiful out of the difficult experience of leaving the convent. Since I signed up, I’ve gained computer skills I never imagined myself possessing, but that’s secondary. What matters is that I can use those skills to share the message of Leonie’s Longing with others: we’re here with you, and we’ve been through the same things you have. My understanding of post-convent life has become something that I can use in the service of God and others, in a way that it couldn’t have elsewhere. It’s a great privilege, and I love working with others who are passionately committed to the same mission.
Would you like to volunteer for Leonie’s Longing, too? We’re growing fast, so we really need the help. We have all kinds of projects: short-term, long-term, one-off? Social, technology, administrative, research, you name it. No matter what your
gifts or talents, chances are there’s something you can do, and you can do it on your own time, from anywhere in the world. Most importantly, though, in working with Leonie’s Longing, you will not only be giving a great gift to our community of faithful women, but you will, like so many others, receive your gift back 100-fold!
If you don’t feel that you can volunteer right now, I would just ask you to continue praying for all of us, especially as we discern our goals for 2015. If you do feel that you may be called to help, please write to us at contactus[at]leonieslonging.org and we will find a way to get you involved. I look forward to meeting you!
If you have an idea for a blog post, please email
We’re going to be doing some innovative things on the Leonie’s Longing blog over the next couple of months, and I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know what to expect!
Starting on the 22nd of September and leading up to her Feast Day on the 1st of October, a novena to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux will be posted on the blog for the intentions of all women who have left the religious life. You’re warmly invited to join us in a brief prayer and meditation each day in honour of the holy sister of our patroness Léonie.
In addition to this, there will be a number of extra posts based around a common theme: the lives of Léonie and Thérèse Martin. You’ll see these posts on the anniversaries of significant events (for example, the 1898 publication date of the first edition of The Story of a Soul at the end of September) and also scattered throughout October and November in the lead-up to the Year of Consecrated Life.
All of these posts are intended to complement the beautiful personal articles sent in to us by readers, which will be published as usual throughout these themed months. (Any readers who are interested in writing a post are most welcome to email me at blogcontact[at]leonieslonging.org, too!)