Saint of the Day: St. John Leonardi, Priest, Founder

Saint John Leonardi was born in Lucca, Italy in 1541. He was studying to be a pharmacist but felt called to the priesthood and was ordained in 1572. As a priest, he worked with prison inmates and the sick in hospitals, with the help of dedicated laypeople. Many of those who assisted him were drawn by his example to become priests themselves.

In 1579, he formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century.

The reforms proposed by the Council of Trent were an inspiration to him. He saw a need for the establishment of an institution of secular priests, and with the approval of Pope Gregory XIII in 1583, he founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God.

His gift for reform was recognized by Pope Clement VIII who appointed him to the task of reforming the monks of Vallombrosa among other monastic orders.

St. John was persecuted by those who questioned his sincerity and thought he had a personal agenda in forming the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. Thus, unable to perform his duties without slander in his own hometown, John moved to Rome. There he met St. John Calasanz and his spiritual director and confessor, the great St. Philip Neri, who not only found him a place to live, but also provided a live-in companion -- a pet cat!

St. John had a fervent missionary spirit and worked towards the foundation of the Propagande Fide, today the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

He died on October 9, 1609, in Rome, from a disease caught while caring for plague victims. St. John was canonized in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.


Blog Archive

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

The Spirituality and Miracles of St. Clare of Assisi

Saint Michael de Sanctis: Patron of Cancer Patients

Saint Gerard of Brogne: Patron of Abbots