Élisabeth and Felix were young and very much in love—more in love with each other than with their faith. When Felix told his soon-to-be-bride that he was practicing the Faith only to keep up appearances, she didn’t mind in the least. Neither of them expected any tension to arise from the situation.
After their marriage in 1889, however, the young couple gradually grew apart in their spiritual lives. Felix became increasingly atheistic; Élisabeth, after great confusion, was inspired to learn about her faith. The more she learned, the more devout she became. Meanwhile, Felix filled the house with atheistic books.
Husband and wife soon clashed.
Finally Élisabeth decided that the only argument that could win Felix back to the Church was intense and undistracted prayer.
For the next fifteen years, she dedicated her life to prayer for her husband’s conversion. She recorded her spiritual journey secretly in a diary. Around the same time, her health crumbled and she lived in intense physical suffering.
Just before her death, she wrote a note to Felix, saying, “In 1905 I begged Almighty God to send me sufferings with which to pay the price of your soul. The day I die, that price will be paid. There is no greater love to be found in a woman than when she gives her life for her husband.”
Élisabeth passed away in 1914 at the age of forty-eight.
When Felix found her diary, his own spiritual journey began. In 1917 he returned to the Faith. Six years later, he was ordained a Dominican priest.
Élisabeth persevered in her faith with humility and fervent devotion despite hostility and ridicule from her beloved husband. Living the Faith well can be difficult even among those who share the same beliefs: so let Élisabeth’s example be an encouragement to you in your everyday struggle towards a deep and purposeful spiritual life. The Secret Diary of Élisabeth Leseur contains the spiritual writings of this holy woman as she navigated the difficult waters of adhering to God while maintaining a harmonious marriage. Available today at The Catholic Company!