ST JOHN LEONARD, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 9
John Leonard was born not far from the city of Lucca, and from very early boyhood appeared mature and serious. At the age of twenty-six, God called him to enlist among the soldiers of the Church. At first he had to study elementary Latin with little boys, but in a short time he advanced to such an extent in the knowledge of literature, philosophy and theology that scarcely four years had passed when, under obedience, he was elevated to the priesthood.
THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, whose care and zeal effected a great reform in the city-state of Lucca. Thereupon, he encountered most bitter insults from wicked men but, bearing all things cheerfully and with resignation, he obtained the confirmation of his congregation from Gregory XIII.
Greatly saddened that so many people in distant places were without the light of the Gospel, he took counsel with the most holy Bishop Vives and founded a society of priests who would take upon themselves the task of training qualified young men to be sent to distant lands for the propagation of the faith. Never relaxing in his sacred ministry, in sack-cloth and ashes, he passed to the Lord at Rome on the ninth day of October in the year 1609. Pius XI enrolled him among the saints.
O God, who in a wondrous way graciously urged blessed John, your Confessor, to propagate your faith among the pagans, and through him brought together a new religious family in your Church for the education of the faithful, grant your servants so to profit by his teaching that we may reach everlasting rewards. Through our Lord…
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964