Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. Her parents were poor but good Catholics and they loved their little girl. When Elodie was nine, her parents wanted her to have the best education they could afford, so they sent her to a boarding school. The Sisters of Notre Dame warmly received their new student but Elodie and her family missed each other very much.
Mr. Paradis had a flour mill and although he worked hard, the mill did not make enough money to support his wife and children. He heard wonderful stories about large amounts of gold that was to be found in California. He was so worried about his family that he decided to go.
But in California, Mr. Paradis did not find the wealth he hoped for. When he returned to L'Acadie, he was shocked to find that his little Elodie had joined the convent to become a nun. She had entered the Holy Cross convent on February 21, 1854.
Mr. Paradis went to the convent and he begged his daughter to return home, but she really wanted to stay there. Finally, her father agreed and she took her vows as a nun in 1857.
Blessed Marie-Leonie 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 committed to serving and caring for priests in the household. This helps the priest to carry out their important ministries without difficulty. The Little Sisters of the Holy Family now have sixty-seven convents in Canada, the United States, Rome and Honduras.
Although Mother Marie Leonie was weak and often sick, she worked for her sisters until the last few hours of her life. But she never stopped caring for God's people. She completed the book of rules she had written to help give her sisters the guidance they would need for their 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.