November 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 4

Saint Of The Month

St. Leonard of Port Maurice – November 26

Photo of an illustration of Saint Leonard of Port MauriceBorn in Italy in 1676, Paolo Girolamo was 13 when his father, a sea captain, sent him to live with his uncle in Rome to study medicine. When Paolo found himself drawn to a religious life, his uncle disowned him. Sad but not discouraged, Paolo joined the Franciscans and took the name Leonard. After completing his studies at San Bonaventura Friary, he was ordained in 1702.

Leonard wanted to be a missionary in China, but illness forced him to remain at San Bonaventura and teach philosophy. After his recovery, he helped establish a home at San Francesco del Monte for friars who preached missions throughout Tuscany. Later, he founded a hermitage nearby where the friars could renew their spirits through fasting, prayer and solitude.

Leonard was an eloquent speaker whose preaching "touched the hearts of all." Responsible for numerous conversions, he was frequently invited to speak in other areas of Italy, including Rome, Umbria and Genoa. As his popularity grew, he often had to preach outdoors in order to accommodate the large crowds.

Leonard was also a prolific writer whose sermons, letters and books of devotion have been translated into several languages. He promoted several Catholic devotions, erected over 500 stations of the cross throughout Italy and suggested that the Immaculate Conception be defined as a dogma of faith 100 years before the Church did so.

Exhausted by his work, Leonard returned to San Bonaventura, where he died. Considered the patron of parish missions, he was canonized in 1867.

remind me that there is so much to see in this world,
not just with my eyes, but with my heart.
Help me to see the good that lies within the people around me
and in nature that surrounds me.
I ask You to open my heart to the visions of all that is brilliant
and loving in this world. Amen.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.