Saint John Leonardi was a Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. He was born in 1541 in Diecimo, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy and died on October 9 1609 in Rome, Papal States at the age of 68. We celebrate his feast day on October 9 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Saint John Leonardi Biography|
|Date of Birth||1541|
|Place of Birth||Diecimo, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy|
|Profession||Catholic priest and the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God|
|Place of Work||Italy|
|Date of Death||October 9 1609|
|Place of Death||Rome, Papal States|
|Feast Day||October 9|
|Beatification||By Pope Blessed Pius IX on November 10 1861 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Papal States|
|Canonization||By Pope Pius XI on April 17 1938 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City|
|Patron Saint of||
Saint John Leonardi Life History
Saint John Leonardi was the last born in a middle-class family of seven children. They lived in Diecimo, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. In his youth life, John Leonardi was a very prayerful lad and used to seek solitude for meditation.
When he was 17 years, he began to study to become a pharmacist and after 10 years he was certified to practice pharmacy. God had different plans for John because thereafter, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained on December 22 1572. He dedicated himself to forming the adolescents in the Christian way in his local parish in Lucca. Thereafter, he organized a group of laymen to help him to work in prisons and hospitals.
Saint John Leonardi founded, in 1574, a group of Christians whose purpose was to deepen the Christian faith, teach the importance of frequent communion, spread the devotion to the Forty Hours and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After the Council of Trent, John became very interested in the reforms that had been instituted and mulled the idea of founding a new congregation of secular priests, a congregation of diocesan priests. The purpose of this congregation was to restore Church discipline and to convert sinners. His congregation was given recognition by the Bishop of Lucca and approved by Pope Gregory XIII in 1583.
Pope Clement VIII confirmed this congregation on October 13 1595, and John Leonardi assumed the religious name “Giovanni of the Mother of God”. The establishment of this congregation received opposition from some civic leaders in Lucca. They were however not successful but this made John spend almost the rest of his life outside Lucca.
John Leonardi went to Rome to continue with his work and met Saint Philip Neri who became a friend and his spiritual director. John was given the task of reforming the monks of Vallombrosa and the Benedictine congregation of Montevergine.
Due to his virtue and zeal for the house of the Lord, by 1600, St John Leonardi had become a formidable force of Counter-Reformation in Italy.
He founded, in 1603, the seminary of the Propagation of the Faith for the philosophical and theological training of missionary priests.
St John Leonardi Death
While John was taking care of the victims of a deadly plague in Rome, he contracted influenza and died on October 9 1609. His relics are interred under an altar in the Church of Santa Maria in Campitelli in Rome.
St John Leonardi was beatified by Pope Blessed Pius IX on November 10 1861 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Papal States
St John Leonardi was canonized by Pope Pius XI on April 17 1938 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
St John Leonardi Feast Day
We celebrate his feast day on October 9 every year in the Catholic Church.
St John Leonardi is the Patron Saint of
- Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca
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