+ John was born in Tuscany and was a pharmacist by trade. Feeling called to serve God more closely, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1571.
+ Three years after his ordination, he founded a new religious community: the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. At the same time, he also worked to establish the first community of priests specifically dedicated to serving in foreign missions. Under later popes, this small initiative would grow into the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
+ John was a prolific writer who touched on a wide assortment of theological and devotional subjects and his work forms and important part of the Catholic reform movement following the Council of Trent.
+ Saint John Leonardi died in 1609 of plague he contracted caring for the sick. Canonized in 1938, his commemoration was extended to the Universal Church in 1941. He is honored as the patron of pharmacists.
“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.”—Saint John Leonardi
O God, giver of all good things,
who through the Priest Saint John Leonardi
caused the Gospel to be announced to the nations,
grant, through his intercession,
that the true faith may always and everywhere prosper.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.