St. John Leonard
John Leonard, born near the city of Lucca, showed himself from early youth grave and mature beyond his years. At twenty-six, he was called by God to enter the ranks of the clergy. He began by studying the rudiments of Latin with young boys, but made such progress in letters and in the disciplines of philosophy and theology that scarcely four years later he was, under obedience, promoted to the priesthood. He founded the congregation of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, by whose work and zeal a great change of attitude was effected in the republic of Lucca.
This aroused against John the bitter complaints of wicked men, but he bore everything with serenity of mind, obtaining the confirmation of his congregation from Gregory XIII. He was very sorrowful over the multitudes in distant parts who lacked the light of the Gospel and, having taken counsel with the devout leader Vives, he founded an institute of priests whose work was to form young men who would be sent to propagate the faith in far countries. Finally, having carried out his sacred ministry so perfectly, clad in sackcloth and ashes he went to the Lord at Rome on October 9 in the year 1609, and was numbered among the Saints by Pope Pius XI.
Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1643-1644.
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