Archbishop Fulton Sheen tells the story of Dr Felix Leseur. Just at the turn of the century, there was a woman married in Paris, just a good, ordinary Catholic girl, to an atheist Dr Felix Leseur. He attempted to break down the faith of his wife. In 1905, she was taken ill and tossed on a bed of constant pain until August 1914. When she was dying, she said to her husband, “Felix, when I am dead, you will become a Catholic and a Dominican priest.” “Elizabeth, you know my sentiments. I’ve sworn hatred of God, I shall live in that hatred and I shall die in it.” She repeated her words and passed away. She died in her husband’s arms at the early age of 47. Rummaging through her papers, Felix found her will. She wrote: “in 1905, I asked almighty God to send me sufficient sufferings to purchase your conversion. On the day that I die, the price will have been paid. Greater love than this no woman has than she who lays down her life for her husband.” Dr Leseur, the atheist, dismissed her will as the fancies of a pious woman. He decided to write a book against Lourdes. He went down to Lourdes to write against Our Lady.
However, as he looked up into the face of the statue of Mary, he received the great gift of faith. So total, so complete was it that he never had to go through the process of juxtaposition and say, “how will I answer this or that difficulty?” He saw it all. At once.
“In the year 1942, during Lent, I Fulton Sheen, made my retreat in the Dominican Monastery in Belgium. Four times each day, and forty-five minutes in length, I made a retreat under the guidance of Father Felix Leseur of the Order of Preachers, who told me the story I have just recounted.”
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