Elisabeth Leseur (1866-1914) is a Servant of God, meaning she is being investigated by the Church for possible canonisation. Whether or not she is eventually recognised as a saint (I pray that she will be!), she has had a profound effect on my life and spirituality. It is really her example that led me to feel that I can confidently pursue sainthood, even in the absence of a devout Catholic spouse.
The short story is that Elisabeth Leseur was a devout Catholic married to an atheist/agnostic, Felix Leseur. He tried to dissaude her of her beliefs and could even be somewhat cruel in his efforts to create obstacles to her practice of Catholicism. Furthermore, her circle of friends were overwhelmingly atheists, and had little respect for her beliefs. This caused Elisabeth a lot of pain, in addition to significant physical suffering. But rather than growing bitter and defeated by her situation, she embraced it as her cross and used it as a means by which to grow closer to the Lord. She lived a life of constant prayer and sacrifice, as well as unceasing love and charity towards those who derided her faith. She even begged the Lord to take her life in exchange for the conversion of her husband.
Alas, the good Lord granted her prayer. After her premature death, Felix discovered Elisabeth’s diary in which she had intimately detailed her prayerful quest for his conversion, as well as her deep and abiding love and respect for him in spite of their differences. This started a spiritual journey that led not only to his return to the Faith, but to his being ordained a priest. I’m sure Elisabeth rejoiced ecstatically in Heaven!
I’ve adopted Elisabeth Leseur as patroness of this website, as well as considering her one of my own personal patrons. I try to remember to ask for her intercession in my marriage daily, as well as doing my best to follow her example as set out in her diary (which I strongly encourage you to read!). You will certainly see many more references to her here, as she’s become a saintly best friend of mine, and the first (future) saint whose story truly resonated with me.
Elisabeth Leseur, pray for us!