The Word Among Us

November 2006 Issue

Love Conquers All

The Heroic Hidden Life of Elisabeth Leseur

By: Ann Bottenhorn

Outside, gray clouds scudded damply across the spring sky. Inside, a continuous procession passed by the woman's bedside. "People came to pray near her, to bring her a last token of affection," her husband recalled years later. "I thus saw in my home numbers of people whom I did not know, whom I had never seen before, and who gave free vent to their sincere and touching grief." So many attended her funeral, expressing such emotion, that the clergy present asked in utter astonishment, "Who was this woman?"

She was Elisabeth Arrighi Leseur, born and raised in Paris in the second half of the nineteenth century. She died just forty-eight years later,...

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