Witness 32 - Sister Marie of the Holy Rosary, O.B.S.


Marguerite-Léonie-Augustine Leroy was born in Lisieux on 27th June 1867. She was Thérèse Martin’s boarding school companion for two years, yet was not in the same class. After the Saint’s death, she entered the Abbey as a Benedictine nun and was professed on 2nd July 1900. What is particularly worth remembering is the request Thérèse made to her companion when she was nine years old: “Marguerite, I would very much like you to teach me how to do meditation” (p. 1305r).  

The witness testified on 12th August 1911, in the 85th session, pp. 1303v-1306v of our Public Copy.

[Session 85: - 12th August 1911 at 8:30am]

[1303v] [The witness answers the first question correctly].

[Answer to the second question]:

My name is Marguerite-Léonie-Augustine Leroy, in religion Sister Marie of the Holy Rosary. I was born in the district of Saint Jacques in Lisieux, on 27th June 1867, of the legitimate marriage between Ferdinand-Auguste Leroy, a commercial employee, and Clémentine-Malvina Rivière. I am a professed nun of the Benedictine Monastery of Lisieux, where I took my Profession on 2nd July 1900.

[The witness answers questions three to seven correctly].

[Answer to the eighth question]:

I knew the Servant [1304r] of God from being her boarding school companion for about two years. I wasn’t in her class, as I was about six years older than her. I will only draw from my personal observations in my testimony.  

[Answer to the ninth question]:

I have a sincere devotion for the Servant of God; I hope and desire she will be beatified. Studying her life story leads me to believe she is a saint, and the good that her protection does to my soul leads me to think that she has power with God.  

[Answer to the tenth question]:

I didn’t know the Servant of God or her family before they moved to Lisieux (1877).

[Answer to the eleventh question]:

I often saw Mr. Martin with his daughters once they had moved to Lisieux. He inspired his children with a deep veneration; he himself, as a Christian, set an example for [1304v] the whole parish.

[Answer to the twelfth question]:

I have no particular information to provide on this point.

[Answer to the thirteenth question]:

Before I entered religious life, I was in contact with the Servant of God’s family. In the eyes of the world, which only judges superficially, it could have seemed like the Servant of God, who was shown very delicate affection, was “spoilt”; but, having observed them more closely, I can confirm that this was not so. Mr. Martin’s children, and little Thérèse as much as her sisters, received a very serious and very Christian education, and weren’t left to do what they pleased. I would instead say that obedience was strict in the family.  

[Answer to the fourteenth question]:

During the two years that I knew Thérèse Martin at the Benedictine boarding school (1882-1884), [1305r] she seemed to me to have a shy and very sensitive character. As a result of this and also because I was six years older than her, I left her with the “little ones” without ever forging a very close relationship with her. Despite this, I became aware, without really realizing it, that she had an exceptionally delicate conscience, which I truly admired. I remember when one day little Thérèse, who was then 9 years old, asked to talk to me during recreation. I was the president of a pious association at the Abbey, and as such the young pupils would sometimes ask me for a little advice or encouragement with regard to their outward behaviour. I presumed it was about something of that nature; but I was surprised and above all caught out when she said: “Marguerite, I would very much like you to teach me how to do meditation.” – Primary source – I can remember her request very clearly. I also seem to remember that it was then that she told me something she later said to one of her teachers, which was that at [1305v] home, she would go in an empty space behind her bed to… “think” - MSA 33,2 -, by which she meant think about God. But this remark has been retold so many times in our community that I now have a doubt as to whether she really said it to me or not. I left the boarding school before she took her first Communion.

Sister Thérèse implies in her life story that she suffered during her time at the Benedictine boarding school. I believe I can provide a reason for this, which was the contrast between the exquisite delicacy of the mutual relationships and forms of piety in her family setting, and the organization of the boarding school which, at that time, included a certain number of educative subjects that were rather vulgar.  

[Answer to questions fifteen to twenty-six]:

Having parted from the Servant of God before she left boarding school, I cannot give a precise testimony on the rest of her life from this date onwards.  

[Answer to the twenty-seventh question]:

[1306r] In our community all the nuns have studied Sister Thérèse’s “life story”, and almost unanimously think that it portrays the life of a saint.

[Answer to the twenty-eighth question]:

There is indeed one of our Sisters who, when we express our admiration for Sister Thérèse, appears to endeavour to dampen our enthusiasm. But she is unable to supply any proper reason for her opposition, and I am of the opinion that she does this out of a certain habit of contradicting than out of any true conviction.

[Answer to the twenty-ninth question]:

I can’t say I’ve ever personally obtained a favour through praying to the Servant of God; but then I’ve never asked her for anything of this kind. But reading her life story awakened a greater desire for perfection within me. I can say that her influence is very recognizable; moreover, I’m convinced that when I pray to her I obtain precious help in fulfilling these commendable desires.

[1306v] [Concerning the thirtieth question, the witness says she hasn’t omitted anything].

[Concerning the Articles, the witness says she knows nothing other than what she has already deposed in answer to the preceding questions. - Here ends the interrogation of this witness. The Acts are read out. The witness makes no amendment to them and signs as follows]:

Signatum-. Sister MARIE OF THE HOLY ROSARY, O.B.