Léonie Martin’s vocation had as a distant prelude that of her maternal aunt, Marie-Louise Guérin, known as Elise, who, at the age of twenty-nine, had entered the Visitation monastery of Le Mans under the name of Sister Marie-Dosithée.
This daughter of a gendarme had had a very trying youth. Her parents, unconsciously tinged with Jansenism, curbed her slightest manifestations of exuberance with the magic veto: “It’s a sin!” The family climate was severe: Marie-Louise had learned to read from the Apocalypse and never knew the joy of cradling a doll.
She wanted to enter the Poor Clares, but reading a biography of gentle Francis de Sales enchanted the young girl, who began to dream of becoming a Visitation nun.
But the move of the family home from Saint-Denis-sur-Sarthon to Alençon, the children’s studies in religious boarding schools, exhausted the meager resources of the household. The family had to earn its own living.
Marie-Louise and her sister Zélie chose the art of lacemaking. Two years passed before the postulant could realize her dream.
Admitted on April 7, 1858 to the Visitation nuns of Le Mans, her conventual existence was to be a straight line. “I’ve come here to become a saint”, she declared as she entered the cloister.
Stéphane Piat, OFM
Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.