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Italian saint and preacher. Saint Alphonsus Liguori called Leonard "...the great missionary of the 18th century". 

 

RELIC. Second class relic, being a fragment of his tunic. Attested by the postulator for his cause of sainthood bearing red wax seal. Dated 10 August 1804.

 

After his ordination he fully expected to be sent to China.  A bleeding ulcer prevent the trip and he remained for four years in Port Maurizio. When Cosimo III de Medici handed over the monastery del Monte to the members of the Riformella, St. Leonard was sent under the auspices and by desire of Cosimo and began shortly to hold missions among the people of Tuscany. 

 

Leonard attracted large crows and was invited to visit and preach in many places. Leonard spent over 40 years preaching retreats, Lenten sermons and parish missions throughout Italy. His missions lasted 15 to 18 days.

 

In 1720 Leonard crossed the borders of Tuscany and held celebrated missions in central and Southern Italy. Everywhere the saint made conversions and was very often obliged both in cities and country districts to preach in the open as churches could not contain the thousands who came to listen.  Popes Clemtn XII and Benedict XIV called him to Rome; the latter especially held him in high esteem both as a preacher and propagandist, and extacted a promise that he would come to Rome to die. Benedict XIV appointd hiom to several complex diplomatic assignments. In Genoa and Corsica, in Lucca and Spoleto the citizens expected a bejeweled cardinal to represent the pope. Instead, they were confronted by a humble, shoeless, muddy friar to confound their hostility and pride. 

 

For a time, St. Leonard was the spiritual director of Maria Clementina Sobieska of Poland, the wife of James Stuart, the Old Pretender.

 

St. Leonard founded many pious societies and confraternities and exerted himself to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart. He also began to insist that the concept of the Immaculate Conception of Mary be defined as a dogma of the faith. 

(LEONARD OF PORT MAURICE,OFM) (1676-1751)

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