St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Confessor, First Order
Leonard, called "the great missionary of the 18th century" by St. Alphonsus Liguori, was another Franciscan who tried to go to the foreign missions (China), failed at that and succeeded tremendously in some other work.
Leonard�s father was a ship captain whose family lived in Port Maurice on the north-western coast of Italy. At 13, Leonard went to Rome to live with his uncle Agostino and study at the Roman College. Leonard was a good student and was destined for a career in medicine. In 1697, however, he joined the Friars Minor, a decision that his uncle opposed bitterly.
After ordination Leonard contracted tuberculosis and was sent to his hometown to rest or perhaps to die. He made a vow that if he recovered he would dedicate his life to the missions and to the conversion of sinners. He soon was able to begin his 40-year career of preaching retreats, Lenten sermons and parish missions throughout Italy. His missions lasted 15 to 18 days, and he often stayed an additional week to hear confessions. He said: "I believe that in those days the real and greatest fruit of the mission is gathered. As much good is done in these days as during the mission."
As a means of keeping alive the religious fervor awakened in a mission, Leonard promoted the Stations of the Cross, a devotion which had made little progress in Italy up to this time. He also preached regularly on the Holy Name of Jesus.
Since he realized that he needed time simply to pray alone, Leonard regularly made use of the ritiros (houses of recollection) that he helped establish throughout Italy.
Leonard was canonized in 1867; in 1923 he was named patron of those who preach parish missions.
The success of someone who comes in and conducts a retreat or leads a citywide "crusade" depends on whether the fervor generated can be sustained over the long run. Changed lives make the difference. For Leonard, the Stations of the Cross and regular confession helped people maintain the personal reforms initiated during his preaching. When was the last time you prayed the Stations of the Cross?
St. Leonard once said, "If the Lord at the moment of my death reproves me for being too kind to sinners, I will answer, 'My dear Jesus, if it is a fault to be too kind to sinners, it is a fault I learned from you, for you never scolded anyone who came to you seeking mercy'" (Leonard Foley, O.F. M., St. Leonard of Port Maurice, p. 9).
Prayer of the church
O God, who didst clothe Thy confessor, St. Leonard, with admirable
sanctity and invincible power of speech that he might
move the hardened heart of sinners to penance by his preaching
of the gospel, grant us, we beseech Thee, that through his merits
and intercession we may be able to draw forth from our hearts
tears of contrition.
Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen
Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. Foley, Leonard Fr, OFM.,ed., revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.,2009,Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, St. Anthony's messenger Press, Cincinnati, OH
Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois
Last edited 13/09/2017 08:27
Web administrator Wayne Benge