Saint of the day
Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis
Elodie Paradis was born on May 12, 1840, in the village of L’Acadie in Quebec, Canada. Her parents were poor and devout Catholics. They loved their little girl. When Elodie was nine, her parents decided to send her to a boarding school. They wanted her to have an excellent education. The sisters of Notre Dame warmly received the new student. But Elodie and her family missed each other very much.
Mr. Paradis worked hard running a mill. But times were bad, and there was not enough work to support his wife and children. He heard wonderful reports of the gold rush in California. He was so desperate that he decided to go. In California, Mr. Paradis did not find the wealth he had hoped for. When he returned to L’Acadie, he was shocked to find that his Elodie had entered the convent. She had joined the Holy Cross congregation on February 21, 1854. Mr. Paradis went to the convent. He begged his daughter to return home, but she chose to remain. Finally, her father accepted her decision. Elodie pronounced her vows in 1857, taking the name Sister Marie-Leonie. She taught school in different cities. She prayed and lived her life joyfully.
As time went on, Sister Marie-Leonie was led by Jesus to begin a new religious order in the Church. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family were begun in 1880. These loving sisters are devoted to the priesthood. They do the household tasks so that priests will be able to devote more time to their people. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family now have many convents in Canada, the United States, Rome and Honduras.
Mother Marie-Leonie worked for her sisters until the last few hours of her life. She was always frail and often ill. But she never stopped caring for God’s people. She put the finishing touches on the pages of the rule of life she had written. She had it sent to the print shop. That book would give her sisters the guidance they would need to live their religious life. On Friday, May 3, 1912, Mother Marie-Leonie said she felt very tired. She went to rest and died a few hours later. She was seventy-one years old.
Mother Marie-Leonie was declared “blessed” by Pope John Paul II. The joyful event took place at Jarry Park, Montreal, Canada, on September 11, 1984.
Little tasks that seem unimportant can be worth a lot when they’re done with love. When we are carrying out chores that seem boring or insignificant, let’s offer them to God with the same spirit Blessed Marie-Leonie had in doing her work.