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Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur Wk 1 of 12

July 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

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The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur Week 1 of 12

The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur is one of my all-time favorite books. Elisabeth was an amazing role model for both husbands and wives alike – a beautiful example of one who leads with grace, humility and love, speaking volumes through her silence rather than through lectures and admonitions.  With great passion, she placed God and her devotion to her husband before all else, despite his efforts to belittle her faith.

The following was taken from the back of the book:

The Remarkable Writings of an Apostle of Faith in a World of Unbelief

This inspiring book gives you a splendid example of how to live as a Christian in a secular environment that can be indifferent or hostile to your Faith. For Elisabeth Leseur had two great loves: God and her husband, Felix. Felix loved Elisabeth as well; yet to their mutual sorrow, he couldn’t share the life of the Spirit that Elisabeth cherished.

Occasionally the happiness of their life together in upper-class Parisian society was shattered by Felix’s frustration and impatience. How could such an intelligent woman waste her time, as he saw it, with ignorant superstitions? Sometimes he and his friends would even ridicule and mock her faith.

But Elisabeth loved Felix too much to allow their home to degenerate into an emotional war zone. She realized that confrontations and arguments were useless; she chose instead to keep quiet and pray for Felix. In her secret diary, which you now hold in your hands, she recorded how she used his efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God.

Throughout their life together, it grieved Elisabeth to think that Felix might be separated from her for all eternity because of his rejection of God. For her, life in Heaven wouldn’t be happy without him. Yet when she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever.

The story doesn’t end there. When Felix found this diary, he discovered how Elisabeth’s whole life borne witness to the truth of the God she loved.

In time, Felix was transformed by the diary and his memories of Elisabeth. He became a Christian and, later, a priest. Now she may even be declared a saint. Elisabeth’s diary and spiritual writings (all included in this one volume) map out for you a path to marital harmony and greater love for God – especially if you love someone who stands outside the Faith. Let Elisabeth’s two great loves, and her faith and perseverance, inspire you now.


We plan to spend twelve weeks on The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (The Kindle Edition can be found here). Below is our prospective schedule:

Week 1: In Memoriam, by Felix Leseur (p. xiii – xliii)

Week 2: The Journal, Part I, through end of November 28, 1901 (p. 3-21)

Week 3: December 18, 1901 – End of July 4, 1905 (p. 21-51)

Week 4: October 2, 1905 – End of “July – August 1907” (p. 51-79)

Week 5: August 23, 1907 – End of March 17, 1911 (p. 80-106)

Week 6: April 9, 1911 – End of February 20, 1913 (p. 106-133)

Week 7: Holy Thursday, March 20, 1913 – End of Spiritual Testament (p. 133-145)

Week 8: Daily Thoughts (1899-1906) (p. 147-187)

Week 9: A Call to the Interior Life – End of Litany to Obtain a Conversion (p. 189-208)

Week 10: Monthly Spiritual Retreat – End of Preface to the Little Treatises on Hope and Peace (p. 209-234)

Week 11: The Little Treatise on Hope – End of Seek and Follow Your Vocation (p. 235-262)

Week 12: Nourish Your Soul with Holy Communion – End of Book (p. 262-290)

Please join us as we delve into the most inspirational journal we’ve read since The Journal of a Soul by Blessed Pope John XXIII! OK – it’s the only journal we’ve read since then. Regardless, trust me when I tell you that we are in for a beautiful ride!

Happy Reading!


Note:  Weeks One and Eight have slightly longer assignments. It was difficult to divide these sections, but please don't let their lengths intimidate you. In light of these longer assignments, I've scheduled shorter assignments for Weeks Two and Seven, so you’ll be able to stay caught up by perhaps fudging the lines a bit. Regardless, we’ll discuss the readings as scheduled.


Reading Assignment:  Week 1: In Memoriam, by Felix Leseur (p. xiii – xliii)

Discussion Questions:
  1. Have you read this book before?
  2. Any comments you'd like to share before we get started?


Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

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