Pope and Doctor of the Church (336-461)
+ Leo was born in Tuscany and was ordained a deacon while still a young man. He made a name for himself by serving as an advisor to Pope Saint Celestine I and Pope Sixtus III. He was elected pope in 440, while on a peace-keeping mission to Gaul.
+ Described as a man of boundless energy and a large heart, he had a strong sense of duty and worked to increase the prestige and influence of the Church of Rome. He was anxious to ensure that Christians throughout the world believed and practiced the same ways.
+ Pope Leo is celebrated for his devotion to the Incarnation of Jesus, which he staunchly defended in his writings against certain heretical groups.
+ He was influential in secular politics and showed great courage when he faced the armies of Atilla the Hun, ultimately helping to save the city of Rome from destruction.
+ Saint Leo the Great died on November 10, 461, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1754 and is honored as the “Doctor of the Church’s Unity.”
For prayer and reflection
“[Each of us], regenerated in Christ, are made kings by the sign of the cross; they are consecrated priests by the oil of the Holy Spirit, so that beyond the special service of our ministry as priests, all spiritual and mature Christians know that they are a royal race and are sharers in the office of the priesthood. For what is more king-like than to find yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one’s heart?”—Saint Leo the Great (Sermon 4)
On November 10 we also remember Blessed Odette Prévost. A trained educator from France, she was inspired by the life and witness of Saint Charles de Foucauld and entered the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1953. Following her profession of vows, she was sent to her community’s mission in Kbab in Morocco. She was later assigned to Algiers, Algeria, and dedicated herself to understanding the people and cultures around her so that she could more effectively teach the students entrusted to her care. Known for her encouragement of ongoing dialogue between Christians and Muslims, she was murdered while walking to Mass on November 10, 1955, by an Islamic terrorist who opposed her work. Blessed Odette was beatified in 2018.
To learn about the life and ministry of the Benedictine monks of St. Leo Abbey (St. Leo, Florida), visit: https://saintleoabbey.org/
O God, who never allow the gates of hell
to prevail against your Church,
firmly founded on the apostolic rock,
grant her, we pray,
that through the intercession of Pope Saint Leo,
she may stand firm in your truth
and know the protection of lasting peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.