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Saint of the Day—available on the iPhone!

Saint of the Day
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

November 26
St. Leonard of Port Maurice
(1676-1751)


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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 northwestern 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.



Comment:

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?

Quote:

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).


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



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Benedict Joseph Labre: Benedict Joseph Labre was truly eccentric, one of God's special little ones. Born in France and the eldest of 18 children, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest. Because of poor health and a lack of suitable academic preparation he was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter the religious life. Then, at 16 years of age, a profound change took place. Benedict lost his desire to study and gave up all thoughts of the priesthood, much to the consternation of his relatives. 
<p>He became a pilgrim, traveling from one great shrine to another, living off alms. He wore the rags of a beggar and shared his food with the poor. Filled with the love of God and neighbor, Benedict had special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Blessed Sacrament. In Rome, where he lived in the Colosseum for a time, he was called "the poor man of the Forty Hours Devotion" and "the beggar of Rome." The people accepted his ragged appearance better than he did. His excuse to himself was that "our comfort is not in this world." </p><p>On the last day of his life, April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint. </p><p>He was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII at canonization ceremonies in 1883.</p> American Catholic Blog Today offers limitless possibilities for holiness. Lean into His grace. The only thing keeping us from sainthood is ourselves.

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