Saint John Leonardi (1541-1609), founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. This group, through his leadership and example, served those most in need of assistance, including prisoners, the plague-ridden, the poor, and the forgotten. Saint John Leonardi remains a model of Christian charity for us to ascribe to today.
John Leonardi was born at Diecimo, Italy. Initially, he worked as a pharmacist’s assistant, before feeling the call of the Lord and studying for the priesthood. Ordained at age 31, Saint John was moved by the plight of the downtrodden and forgotten he encountered on a daily basis. In response to the need he discerned, he gathered a group of laymen about him to work for the care of the sick in hospitals and the spiritual good of inmates in prisons. Motivated by reforms of the Council of Trent he founded a society of diocesan priests in 1574 to carry out the mandated renewal of the council. The young men who had been assisting him all became priests. The society was later approved as the Clerics Regular of the Mother of God. Saint John worked within this community to spread devotion to the Our Blessed Mother, devotion to the Forty Hours, and frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.
“Nothing should be untried that can train children from early childhood in good morals and in the earnest practice of Christianity. To this end nothing is more effective than pious instructions in Christian doctrine. Children should be entrusted only to good and God-fearing teachers.” He founded the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine to assist in the instruction of the young.
Saint John Leonardi also co-founded a society of priests dedicated to working in foreign missions, which later became the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. At the request of Pope Clement the VII, he was summoned to Rome to assist in the renewal and reform of several religious communities. Committed to genuine reform and spiritual renewal, his words to Pope Paul V summarize the approach which earned him the respect of several popes:
"Reform must begin with high and low alike, with superiors and inferiors. Yet the reformers must look first to those who are set over the rest, so that reform can begin at the point from which it may spread to others… Those who want to work for moral reform in the world must seek the glory of God before all else. Because He is the source of all good, they must wait for His help, and pray for it in this difficult and necessary undertaking. They must then present themselves to those they seek to reform, as mirrors of every virtue and as lamps on a lamp stand. Their upright lives and noble conduct must shine before all those who are in the house of God. In this way they will gently entice the members to reform instead of forcing them, lest, in the words of the Council of Trent, they demand of the body what is not found in the head, and thus upset the whole order of the Lord's household.”
giver of all good things,
you proclaimed the good news to countless people
through the ministry of St. John Leonardi.
By the help of his prayers
may the true faith continue to grow.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Year 2: Day 282 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Hearts of Charity; Lives of Repentance and Reformation.
Requested Intentions: Healing of a chronic illness (P); Safety of a family during storms (A); Successful home ownership (P); Healing of a marriage (M); Employment for a husband, blessings for a marriage (E); Successful examinations for a daughter, healing of a relationships (V); Blessing for a family (V); Healing of baby girl M and all children suffering (M); Special intentions (R); Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."