Elisabeth and Felix Leseur in 1910.
Elisabeth and Me (1910)


By the time this volume appears,
I shall have left the world,
and entered the seminary.

My beloved wife, Elisabeth, prayed incessantly
for my return to the Catholic Faith. Daily for this intention,
she offered up all her sacrifices, trials, sufferings,
and at the end, even her death.

But she did this secretly,
because when we married,
I was profoundly anti-religious.

I had been raised Catholic
but lost my faith in medical school.
I searched for weapons against Catholicism.
I set myself to attack Elizabeth's Faith,
to deprive her of it, and
--- may God pardon me! ---
I nearly succeeded.

Then, in 1913, she was struck down
by cancer, which for ten months
was her Calvary until she died,
just forty-eight years old.

*

I have, since Elisabeth's death,
learned to appreciate the power of her silence.
God heard the constant prayer it concealed,
and completed the conversion
begun in me by her influence
and by my reading her Journal,
which I found after her death,
and which I present to you here.

*

Renunciation, detachment, sacrifice,
and utmost charity toward God and neighbor:
these are the themes on each of its pages.

It shows how Elisabeth
endured terrible afflictions.
She comforted those around her,
never complained,
and looked to the Eucharist,
and to prayer and self-sacrifice,
for the support she needed.

When I think that I was foolish and criminal enough
to try to destroy the Faith that lifted her so high
and sustained her so powerfully!
To what a Hell would I have reduced her
and condemned myself at the same stroke!

*

A great many people attended her funeral.
They expressed such real and unanimous emotion
and gave witness to such an uncommon distress
that the clergy assisting at the service
were utterly astonished.

They made inquiries, and their questions
were at once reported to me:

"But who was this woman?
We have never seen
such a funeral before!"

Elisabeth Leseur at home in Paris, 1910.

After Elisabeth's death,
when everything seemed to collapse around me,
I came upon the Spiritual Testament
she had written for me, and her Journal, too.

I read and reread them,
and a revolution took place in my whole moral being.
There I discovered that Elisabeth had concluded with God
a kind of pact, vowing to exchange her life
for my return to the Faith.

I remembered that one day
she had told me
with absolute assurance:

"I shall die before you.
And when I am dead,
you will be converted;
and when you are converted,
you will become a religious.
You will be Father Leseur."

*

And so from her Journal
I perceived clearly the inner meaning
of Elisabeth's existence,
so grand in its humility.
I came to appreciate the splendor
of the faith of which I had
seen such wonderful effects.

The eyes of my soul were opened.
I turned toward God,
who called to me.
I confessed my faults to a priest
and was reconciled to the Church.

*

Elisabeth had led me to the truth,
and even today, in my inmost being,
I continue to feel her guiding my steps
to a more perfect union with God.

Fr. Felix Leseur, c. 1940
Fr. Felix Leseur, O.P.
(ca. 1940)


*

Elisabeth's Journal
is my daily reading.

It is a book of rare beauty.
The designs of God's Providence
are shown plainly in
Elisabeth's life and work.

I am convinced that by reading these pages
many torn hearts will find the means
to endure with courage the sacrifices
which have been imposed on them.

I now, therefore, give to you
these precious pages.

The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (book cover).

I pray that the Holy Spirit will spread them far and wide
and that they may help to work in as many souls as possible
the renewal they have accomplished in my own soul.

Fr. Felix Leseur

* Felix's words are adapted from In Memoriam,
his 1917 introduction to Elisabeth's
Journal et pensées de chaque jour.

The cause for the
CANONIZATION
of Elizabeth Leseur
is being handled in Rome by:

Fr. Innocenzo Venchi, O.P.
Postulator Generalis
Curia Generalizia dei Padri Domenicani
Convento Santa Sabina (Aventino)
Piazza Pietro d'Illiria, 100153 Roma (Italia)

Telephone: (39) 6 57 941
Fax: (39) 6 57 50 675
e-mail: postulatio(at)dominicans(dot)it

 

 

The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (book cover).
The Secret Diary
of Elisabeth Leseur

The Woman Whose Goodness
Changed Her Husband
from Atheist to Priest

336 pages ppbk $19.95

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