A hope was as soon as expressed to a spiritual, desirous of publishing some paperwork on monastic historical past, that his work “may show fruitful of excellent,” the underlying intimation being that probably it won’t. The current author has been always beset, while writing these pages, with an identical worry. What, it might be requested, is using placing earlier than us at this time the instance of 1 who, although trendy within the ranks of the Saints, was most definitely what known as contemptuously, I worry a medievalist, a person who adopted old-time methods and customs, and sought to perpetuate them? True, Leonard was past all query an awesome missioner, a prolific giver of Retreats, a well-liked preacher, and as such just isn’t regarded with out some condescending sympathy, as being, as much as a sure level, intelligible to the fashionable spirit. However to think about him in that mild solely is, I enterprise to recommend, incorrect, and the ensuing image a distorted one. Much better, so it appears to me, to relegate his reminiscence to finish oblivion, somewhat than to resuscitate him solely partially. We’ve got no proper to mutilate our topic, after which current a partial determine, on the plea that such is the one facet of his lifetime of any curiosity in the present day. To place the query on no larger degree, such a continuing can be a falsification of historical past; to me it appears the falsification of a Saint.
Consequently, within the following pages I’ve endeavoured to make a good division and provides equal prominence to the 2 sides of the Saint s life, so admirably summarized by him in his letter to Brother Stephen.
The preliminary problem, nevertheless, nonetheless stays, and I need to endeavour to justify myself in presenting what to many should all the time appear an inconceivable very best. Now, nobody would dream for a second of advocating anyplace as we speak the development of a spiritual home on the strains of Incontro it was peculiar to nation, time, and other people, a monument to admire, however to not imitate. However what of the spirit animating these heroic missionaries who for temporary areas of life have been bent on being solitaries? Is there, perchance, no connection between their fantastic success as preachers and this, to us unseemly, hankering after a mountain-top? Is there not one thing of their outlook on the world we might do greater than admire? Certainly, they stand earlier than us because the embodiment of an incredible religious fact, which they laid maintain of in act in addition to thoughts, however which we might properly ponder over and clutch at from afar, be it ever so barely. Have been I propounding some concept of my very own on the foundations of the apostolic life, I’d nicely be requested for credentials, however I’m leaving the Saints to talk.
There aren’t wanting in the present day manuals on preaching, wonderful, I perceive, in each method, and calculated to fulfill an undoubted want, however what of that on which each preacher should construct? It has its prophets certainly, 1 however alas, for probably the most half, crying within the wilderness, or conned over however by these whose quiet lives depart them a leisure which the fashionable apostle appears seldom to seek out.
Right here, then, is an entire image of a “life”; not only one facet of it, however the entire: a really temporary and imperfect image, let me be the primary to admit it, and that in no spirit of mock modesty. Aside from Leonard’s Resolutions, my sole authority has been itself a translation, that of the Lifetime of the Saint by Father Salvator d Ormea, O.F.M., translated into French by the Chanoine Labis, and revealed at Tournai in 1858, however I’ve no cause to doubt the information.
For the frontispiece, I’m indebted to Mr. Montgomery Carmichael, and for the remaining illustrations to Father Paschal Robinson, O.F.M. I take this chance of thanking each for his or her type curiosity and assist.
This, then, is not any discovered work, nor, in any sense, a historic research, however a easy Lifetime of a deeply spiritual priest, a Franciscan and a Saint.
– Father Dominic Devas, O.F.M., 17 January 1920
“Quam dilecta tabernacula tua Domine virtutum.”
Paul Jerome Casanova was born at Port-Maurice, then forming a part of the Republic of Genoa, on the 20th of December, 1676, and was baptized the next day within the collegiate church of Saint Maurice. His father was in what we should always converse of these days because the Genoese Service provider Service, and was captain of his ship. Paul was an solely baby, and two years after his start his mom died. Dominic Casanova shortly afterwards married once more, and had 4 youngsters, three boys and a woman. The woman subsequently turned a Dominican nun within the Convent of Saint Catherine of Sienna at Taggia, and two of the boys, following their step-brother’s instance, turned Franciscans. The third remained on the planet.
Until he was 13 years previous Paul Jerome Casanova remained at Port-Maurice. He was of the variety of those that, like Saint Bernard, appear from their earliest childhood to have been gifted with a unprecedented appreciation of divine issues. The home of God was the place he felt most at residence; a pilgrimage to some outlying church of Our Woman was for him a rest and recreation extra appreciated than video games. Nevertheless, he had no want to draw except for his play-fellows; it was as but no passionate eager for solitude that rendered the rollicking joys of a wholesome youngster’s life distasteful to him, however merely an incredible want for the presence of God, and for his companions to share with him within the delights of that presence. He didn’t, as so many baby saints have achieved, retire to some secret place to wish, however quite rejoiced in being allowed to hitch together with his mother and father in saying the household prayers out loud.
Life at Port- Maurice for Paul Jerome should have been a quite simple affair. He attended the parish faculty, and was a well-known determine within the parish church: he used to go for lengthy walks together with his associates, wandering over that pretty shoreline, and say his Rosary with the remaining night time by night time earlier than mattress. He had, nevertheless, what so many have wished to have and dreamed about, an actual wealthy uncle, Augustin Casanova, who lived at Rome. Probably his brother Dominic had seen to it that Augustin ought to know of his promising younger nephew and of what “parochus” and schoolmaster considered him, insinuating on the similar time that his personal modest means might go no additional than Port-Maurice and its parish faculty. The perfect occurred; and Paul Jerome was quickly making his approach to Rome, at his uncle’s invitation. He was simply 13 years of age.
On his nephew’s arrival, Augustin Casanova went straight to work. He first selected the boy a confessor within the individual of Father Grifonelli, an Oratorian, after which organized for him to attend a personal faculty stored by a discovered priest.
After three years together with his tutor, throughout which Paul Jerome appears to have greater than fulfilled the excessive expectations of his uncle already considerably disenchanted, it will appear, in his two sons it was organized for him to attend the programs of research given by the Jesuits on the Gregorian. After two years at Humanities and Rhetoric, he handed on to Philosophy, all the time dwelling together with his uncle, to whom he endeared himself increasingly.
While at Rome Paul Jerome naturally made new pals; not many, it seems, as already the decision to solitude and retirement was starting to make itself felt, however nonetheless a number of, and people real. Such a one was the tradesman Louis Foggia, to whom the Saint typically referred in later life as one to whom he owed a lot, to whom he owed particularly the good grace invaluable to him as he superior in lifetime of so strolling continuously within the presence of God as by no means to turn out to be ruffled or put out by the failings of others. Such a one, once more, was the scholar Peter Mire, who later turned additionally a priest. In holiday-time Peter and Paul would stroll out from the Gregorian to Augustin Casanova’s home within the By way of Salaria, reciting the Rosary collectively as a prelude to their recreation.
However Paul Jerome, pious younger man although he was, was not of the demure and gilt-edged prayer-book sort. He was not afraid of the tough and tumble of apostolic methods. When solely seventeen he was admitted as a member of the Oratory of Father Caravita, the Jesuit, and was quickly superior to the ranks of these whose obligation it was, in mission – time, to spherical up backsliders within the numerous districts of Rome an arduous work, exposing the younger apostles to many rebuffs, impolite remarks, and mock. For such, nevertheless, he fortified himself by prayer and religious studying, to which he devoted a substantial time, and by practices of mortification which, even at so early an age, he managed to mingle with the facilities of his snug residence within the By way of Salaria. Already we see in miniature the longer term Saint, attending to the souls of others, but not neglecting his personal, cajoling the lax to attend missions and assiduously studying Saint Francis de Gross sales; retailing fragments of Saints lives and Jesuit sermons as an alternative of consuming his supper, and sleeping on the ground of his bed room as an alternative of in his mattress.
Then, after a basic confession made to Father Grifonelli within the room as soon as hallowed by the presence of Saint Philip himself, there comes a climax. Paul Jerome realizes his vocation to develop into a spiritual, however, in contrast to what often occurs these days, while fairly sure of his vocation, he was wholly at a loss to determine which Order to use to.
Strolling in the future in Rome, he got here throughout two spiritual whose facet struck and edified him, exactly due to the absence of any pose assumed to strike and edify. Their behavior was aggressively poor, no mere make-believe of poverty their angle one in every of actual humility, not the feigned air as of condescending kings; and but princes they have been for all that, collocet eos Dominus cum principibus, and dwelling with princes: two Franciscans dwelling as Paul Jerome found, for he adopted them within the Convent of Saint Bonaventure on the Palatine. The 2 friars attain the convent and enter; Paul Jerome slips into the church. Converge nos Deus salutaris noster: such is the greeting he receives, for the friars are chanting Compline. Profoundly moved, stirred as he had by no means been earlier than by ebook or sermon, by discovered lectors or saintly administrators, struck to the fast by the psalmody inside and by the timeless imaginative and prescient for they now appeared to him as angels of the 2 friars he had seen outdoors, Paul Jerome finds the peace and relaxation he had lengthy looked for; no doubts now Hoec requies mea right here should his life lie.
Shortly he returns and relates all to Father Grifonelli. The Oratorian has lengthy recognized the Convent of Saint Bonaventure and people whose residence it’s, and the way of their life there. He, too, has no doubts now, after the younger man’s story and, extra nonetheless, the way of its telling. Paul Jerome hears from the lips of Saint Philip’s son the reassurance that it’s God’s Will he ought to enter the Convent of Saint Bonaventure and develop into a Franciscan. A Jesuit and a Dominican, consulted on the suggestion of his confessor, each give the identical recommendation. En avant then, certainly, for what impediment was there now? God’s Will made evident, what extra might man want for?
Unusually sufficient, nevertheless, for the new-born enthusiasm of Paul naturally sufficient as we take a look at it now Augustin Casanova, in his nice home on the By way of Salaria, was removed from seeing eye to eye together with his younger nephew. God’s Will, so abundantly evident to Paul Jerome, aglow with the spirit of sacrifice, appeared to his uncle in a really totally different mild. Had not a lot time and labour and cash been spent on his schooling? Had he not already commenced these research in drugs which have been to safe him finally a career and social standing far above something Port-Maurice might have provided him? Had not his father despatched him to Rome exactly for this objective, and had not he, Augustin Casanova, acquired him into his family exactly on this understanding? How, then, might he have the face to show spherical now, and no matter all of the tender care so lovingly bestowed upon him suggest to bury himself and his skills in a convent of mendicant friars?
Paul Jerome with the chic disregard of logic proven by others earlier than and since who discover themselves circumstanced as he might however assent to all his uncle’s arguments and but persist in ignoring them in apply. Augustin Casanova, nevertheless, was no man to trifle with. He had acquired Paul Jerome whole-heartedly and achieved his easiest for him. An analogous whole-heartedness should now mark his disapproval. It did: and Paul Jerome very shortly discovered himself homeless in Rome. On this extremity he sought and obtained shelter with a distant relative of his, a sure Leonard Ponzetti, who acquired him kindly, and underneath whose roof Paul awaited his father’s opinion on the good step he was professional posing to take.
For Dominic Casanova the spiritual life was not a mere churlish fleeing from the world, such because it appeared to his brother Augustin, however a lot fairly a dwelling to God, and it was within the realization of this nice fact that he took up the letters he had acquired from brother and son, and went out into the church of Port-Maurice. Right here, kneeling earlier than the excessive altar, he provided as much as God the sacrifice of the son he so dearly liked. Then he went residence and wrote off the letter giving his consent.
Paul Jerome, nevertheless, was not one simply to overlook all he owed to his uncle, and the previous man s unbending opposition to his Franciscan vocation prompted him the deepest concern. And now one other impediment made itself felt. His pals identified to him his delicate well being, and argued very plausibly that if, properly clothed and housed and fed as he had hitherto been, he nonetheless remained so weak, what potential prospect was there of his ever persevering within the austere lifetime of the friars of Saint Bonaventurc? Paul Jerome should have felt the pressure of this argument, for he confessed at some point to his good friend Peter that if he needed to depart, after getting into the novitiate, he didn’t intend to stay at Rome, however meant to return to Port- Maurice, to proceed there the work of instructing the youngsters of the poor, which already for some appreciable time he had been carrying on in Rome in reference to the Oratory of Father Caravita.
Nevertheless, this query of well being might solely be solved by expertise, and, because the opposition of his uncle remained immovable, Paul Jerome determined he should do with out the consent he so wished to acquire, and utilized with out additional delay for admission into the Order of Friars Minor.
For sure, his request was granted, and in September, 1697, after having entrusted to his pal Peter all his notes and papers, with directions handy them over, on his arrival, to considered one of his younger brothers, who was himself about to start his research, Paul Jerome left Rome, and proceeded to the novitiate home at Ponticelli, within the Sabine hills.
He was clothed within the Franciscan behavior on the 2nd of October, being almost twenty-one years of age, and took the identify of Leonard, in reminiscence of the good friend who had harboured him when he was homeless.
Work within the Order
“Abscondes eos in abscondito faciei tuae, a conturbatione hominum.”
Paradoxical although it might sound, I feel it’s true to say that crucial years within the lifetime of a spiritual are these about which there’s least to say and positively least recognized the years that intervene between the graduation of his novitiate and his reappearance earlier than others, when first he receives schools for preaching and listening to confessions.
Leonard is not any exception to this rule. He made his Solemn Career, as was then customary, one yr after his reception of the behavior. From the convent within the Sabine hills he then returned to Rome in 1698, to start his course of Philosophy and Theology at Saint Bonaventure’s, and was ordained priest in 1703. Of those six years we all know little. While nonetheless a scholar, listening to that a band of missionaries was being obtained collectively, he provided himself and was accepted for the Chinese language mission; then, for causes of which we all know nothing, the permission was withdrawn, and Leonard left with a disappointment he appears by no means wholly to have misplaced. Years later probably the most profitable missioner in Italy would look wistfully again to the time when, because it appeared to him, he had been weighed for the crown of the martyrs and located wanting. Like Saint Anthony of Padua, he had longed to shed his blood for Christ, and for one temporary second martyrdom had actually appeared a sensible risk, after which the dream had vanished, however was by no means forgotten. “Allow us to belief in God ” that was one among Leonard’s favorite sayings, so allow us to hope it consoled him now.
Shortly earlier than his ordination, Leonard, nonetheless a deacon, was chosen to evangelise throughout Lent to the women 300 of them, it seems who have been pursuing their research at one of many many convent faculties at Rome. This primary missionary effort was a whole success, and led the convent chaplain to foretell an awesome future for the younger preacher.
After his ordination Leonard was appointed Lector of Philosophy within the Convent of Saint Bonaventure, and forthwith utilized himself energetically to his new duties. Now, nevertheless, have been verified the pessimistic predictions of his early pals, for his well being broke down utterly, and he was compelled to relinquish the lectorate. He was first despatched to Naples to recuperate, however the gastric haemorrhage, from which he was struggling persevering with as violent as ever, his superiors thought his native air may do him good, and despatched him to Port-Maurice. Right here he did certainly steadily develop stronger, although he attributed his restoration much less to the local weather than to the intercession of Our Blessed Woman, to whom he prayed earnestly to be restored to well being, promising, ought to his prayer be granted, to dedicate his life to the con model of sinners.
Leonard was about thirty years previous when, on his full restoration to well being, he was empowered to listen to confessions and preach, and he straightway entered upon that lengthy apostolic profession which has justly entitled him to fame. Nevertheless, to treat the Saint as an apostle and nothing extra can be certainly to malign him, and it is going to be the aim of this chapter to deliver out that different aspect of his life, often much less observed, and positively much less extensively recognized than it deserves to be. But it was one which the Saint himself regarded, not merely as equalling in worth his missionary labours, however as being their very basis and life.
Here’s what Leonard as soon as wrote. He was staying for a month in a convent he dearly liked, that of Saint Angelo de Montorio Romano, a solitary home, mendacity within the coronary heart of the Sabine hills, three miles from the closest habitation, and wrapped spherical by precipitous and rocky cliffs. It’s written to Brother Stephen at Rome:
2nd March, 1732.
DEAR BROTHER IN JESUS CHRIST,
Might the peace of our good Jesus be with you!
I’ve reached Saint Angelo finally, although I used to be arduous put to it on the best way, for I had a nasty assault of fever at Palombaro, and felt very weak. Nevertheless, it handed off, and the journey is over now, and I hope to have the ability to end the retreat I’ve seemed ahead to a lot.
Candidly, my pricey brother, I’ve many causes for not going to Rome. Listed here are the 2 chief ones: firstly the delusion individuals are beneath about me; they appear on me as a spiritual of some benefit, whereas I do know I m not, and this concept of theirs disturbs me. Then there’s the lack of time and dissipation of spirit I shall definitely be uncovered to if I’m going to Rome. Thank God, I don’t anticipate something from the world, so why waste time over it? As I’m crucified to the world and switch my again on it, so I would like the world to be crucified to me and switch its again on me. My vocation, in as far as one is competent to guage of such issues, lies in mission work and in solitude: mission work that I’ll stay for God, and solitude that I’ll reside in God. The whole lot else is useless.
Very affectionately yours,
Earlier than going additional, then, allow us to see what Leonard was aiming at when he spoke of “solitude” as occupying so necessary a spot in his life. His first efforts on this path have been blessed with full failure, an virtually invariable signal that “the weak spot of God” which “is stronger than males” was at work with him. He had been barely a yr on the mission when he requested for and obtained permission to transform one of many homes of the Province right into a Home of Retreat. Let me directly make it fairly clear that such a want on Leonard’s half didn’t mirror within the least as some are apt to think about on the overall degree of observance maintained round him. As was identified virtually a century later, in 1781, by the Franciscan Blessed Leopold, such a requirement is way extra a witness to present fervour than an index of laxity, and displays nothing however credit score on the Province that engenders such a motion. Such was true, past all query, within the case of Leonard, for the Province he had joined was distinguished for its observance. The convent chosen for the aim was that of Saint Bernardine at Albenga, and thither Leonard, and people like-minded with himself who had obtained an identical permission, withdrew within the early spring of 1708. At first all went nicely, and the Bishop of the diocese was delighted, however when summer time got here the entire group, besides Leonard and two others, fell sick, and the exterior ministry which had emanated from the home, like a beneficent wave of religious power, got here to an abrupt finish. Issues mended barely with the arrival of cooler climate, however not for lengthy. The renewed illness of the Brethren attributed to the unhealthiness of the locality led to the conclusion that Albenga was not fitted to the aim for which it had been chosen. One other home was requested for, and a brand new basis at Port-Maurice was selected. In January, 1709, Leonard despatched off two spiritual from Albenga to take over the brand new home. Decide of his shock once they returned virtually instantly with the information that that they had been pushed away by the inhabitants, who had conceived a violent, if inexplicable, opposition to a second friary within the city. Leonard then went to Port- Maurice himself, however with no higher success, and the entire scheme needed to be deserted. He returned to Albenga, and remained there until Might, when he was despatched, with seven others of the Province, to Florence, whither the friars had been summoned by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosmo III. The next is an unfinished account of this basis which Leonard himself has left us:
About forty-seven years had elapsed because the servant of God, Bonaventure of Barcelona, had succeeded, regardless of unnumbered difficulties, in establishing Homes of Retreat within the Roman Province of the Friars Minor, when Divine Windfall, ordering all issues with gentleness and energy, impressed a sure zealous spiritual of the Society of Jesus, Father Anthony Bardiggiani, to offer an in depth account of this establishment to His Royal Highness, Cosmo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. This Prince, who had at coronary heart the religious welfare of his individuals, was so drawn in the direction of this holy Institute as to find out to do all he might to assist it. Seeing of what use it might be in his personal States, he begged His Holiness Clement XI to deign to ship to Florence some spiritual of the Order. His intention was to determine them within the Convent of Saint Francis of the Mount, located outdoors the city, and this he succeeded in doing in August, 1709. A succesful and zealous spiritual, Father Pius, was chosen superior, and 5 different clergymen and two lay- brothers made up the brand new group. To date every thing had handed off to the whole satisfaction of the saintly Prince. He often visited the Convent, encouraging the spiritual, by the curiosity he confirmed in them, to persevere of their holy observances. Contradiction, nevertheless, is likely one of the traits of the works of God, and if the pious ruler confirmed his delight and satisfaction, others weren’t wanting who manifested the gravest disapproval, being illiberal of this novel type of basis and against any recent creation of spiritual. All types of malicious rumours have been quickly in circulation, which have been credulously accepted by the individuals, and brought about nice unpleasantness for the newly arrived friars. These, imply whereas, after establishing of their Convent the strictest and most good observance of the principles of their holy Institute, devoted themselves to the religious wants of the town. Day and night time they provided to God their prayers, watchings, and fastings for all of the world and notably for many who confirmed most aversion to them, and whose open opposition exercised them in meritorious acts of endurance.
Nevertheless, who doesn’t know that the profoundly spiritual intuition of the individuals of Florence to offer them their due is probably unequalled in Italy. Consequently, as quickly because the spiritual, leaving their Convent, started to exit among the many individuals, preaching, instructing, listening to confessions, visiting the sick, in search of out tenderly even probably the most deserted sinners in a phrase, as quickly as they confirmed the zeal which animated them for the salvation of souls, and their full detachment from the products of this world they quickly gained for themselves the sympathy and approval of all. Those that at first had pushed away the Brothers with out pity, when on “quest,” declaring they might by no means give alms to such spiritual as they, at the moment are their most devoted benefactors, and the spiritual themselves have typically to ask them to restrain their generosity lest it prejudice the poverty they so dearly cherish. To such an extent have the alms elevated that the place at one time it was troublesome to help ten or twelve, now there are forty-five spiritual, whose sole useful resource lies within the “quest.” Thus has been verified the phrases of our Holy Father, who used to say: ” If the Brethren observe their Rule faithfully, even when however one loaf have been left in the entire world, the half can be for them.” This expertise has led our spiritual to cling increasingly to the educating of Blessed Bonaventure, who urged nothing a lot as poverty in meals, within the adornment of the church, and all the remaining, wishing to see all over the place probably the most full destitution, with out different useful resource than Divine Windfall. Not solely do they keep the rule forbidding them to obtain cash, or honorarium for Plenty, or stipends for preaching, however as well as, bent on receiving their poor nourishment from God’s desk alone i.e., by the labour of the “quest”, they’ve renounced, each by phrase of mouth and in writing, what the liberality of our Most Serene Prince had assigned them for his or her maintain and different wants. His home is all the time open to them, however it is just for the good thing about the sick that they ever avail them selves now of his generosity, preferring for the remaining, like actual poor, to beg their bread from door to door.
It will be fairly unattainable to estimate the great affect the life of those spiritual has had and is constant to have on a inhabitants so religious as is that of this metropolis. They’re for ever engaged in listening to confessions, withdrawing males from sin and guiding them within the methods of God. Nice particularly is the impact they’ve had on the nation individuals within the neighbourhood of the Convent. Fairly an ethical reformation has taken place, and onerous certainly wouldn’t it be to seek out any who haven’t made their common confession on the Convent of the Mount. The outcomes are seen in a extra turning into behaviour in church and higher purity in household life. Many abuses have disappeared, comparable to conceited dances, which have been frequent, and extended “soirees,” and different harmful amusements; a lot so that a stranger, wishing to offer a dance in one among these villages, after scouring all of the neighbourhood, might solely muster two women. These good peasants are consequently profitable for themselves fairly a popularity, and the parish clergymen are delighted. These latter aren’t in any means prejudiced by the presence of the spiritual, for they take no stipends, nor conduct funerals, nor, in truth, make any claims no matter: so that each one are working collectively in good concord to the good advantage of souls. Not a number of even have positioned themselves beneath the religious course of the friars, with a view to their very own larger sanctification.
Such blessings as these are what God often confers in these districts the place convents of Retreat are based e.g., within the Sabine, the place the servant of God, Bonaventure, based the primary ones. The reason being that from the very starting they’ve made some extent not merely of sustaining spiritual observance inside, however of working with zeal and fervour for the encompassing individuals outdoors. Thus did they overcome all obstacles and win all hearts, turning the esteem and veneration during which they have been held into devices for attaining an ethical rebellion and the salvation of souls.
In these footsteps did the friars of the brand new Convent at Florence endeavour to stroll. After evangelizing the neighbouring inhabitants, their zeal has sought wider scope, and they’re ardently devoting themselves to mission-work all through the Grand Duchy. Already they’ve labored in eleven or twelve cities, apart from in a number of small locations and villages, and the apostolate is being vigorously pursued. It might require a quantity to recount all the great outcomes achieved the conversion of hardened sinners, the restitution of ill-gotten good points, the reconciliation of enemies, the abandonment of schemes of revenge. So widespread is their beneficent affect, so edified are the individuals by the great odour.
(Right here the manuscript breaks off abruptly, not, how ever, with out having proven us one thing of Leonard’s beliefs.)
It was on the Convent in Florence that Leonard noticed his father for the final time. Dominic Casanova, now nicely superior in years, spent three days together with his son, after which returned to Port-Maurice, the place, not lengthy afterwards, he died.
In 1715 Leonard was appointed Guardian. Even if it will intrude considerably within the mission-work he was ever assiduously engaged in, he accepted this extra cost within the spirit of obedience, and set himself to satisfy its obligations with attribute thoroughness.
His first step was to seek the advice of privately every member of his Group. Having thus assured himself of their unanimous help, he proceeded to attract up a algorithm for the home, arranging the Order of the Day and explaining the duties of the varied workplaces which have been held within the Convent. Not content material with thus formulating a Rule of Life, and giving, in his personal individual, a day by day instance of its observance, Leonard was accustomed each Sunday night to deal with his spiritual within the Refectory, dwelling week by week on the character of the spiritual state and the obligations it includes. Nicely did he perceive that mere statutes of observance are of no avail, and that even instance is all too typically however a voice within the wilderness, however that the spoken phrase and instance collectively are robust certainly and should transfer mountains. The power and eloquence with which he set forth the beliefs of the spiritual life quickly got here to be noised overseas, and non secular of different Orders used to beg the Brother Porter’s permission to enter the Convent on Sunday nights, that they could pay attention surreptitiously, behind the Refectory-door, to Leonard’s impassioned appeals.
One may fancy him glad and content material, dwelling in so holy a home amidst such fervent brethren. However no: his gospel had by no means been “in phrase solely, however in energy additionally, and within the Holy Ghost, and in a lot fullness,” and he knew whence that fulness and energy got here; and so it’s that we discover him looking for after a but extra profound retirement. Ecce elongavi fugiens et mansi in solitudine (Lo! I’ve fled distant and dwelt in solitude): levavi oculos meos advert monies unde veniet auxilium mihi (I’ve raised my eyes to the mountains, whence assist shall come to me). In 1716 Leonard, aged forty, is engaged in founding the celebrated Solitude of Saint Mary of Incontro, located within the mountains 4 and a half miles from Florence. Of this basis he has himself left us the fullest account, so let me not presume to provide it in some other phrases however his:
The lifetime of retirement, so pricey to the servant of God, Blessed Bonaventure (of Barcelona), was removed from being against zeal for the salvation of souls, as we now have simply seen (within the Saint’s account of the Florence basis). He was most anxious that his spiritual ought to conform themselves to the spirit of their Holy Founder, of whom it’s written Non sibi soli vivere, sed aliis prof cere vult Dei zelo ductus (Prompted by his zeal for God, he needs to reside not solely for himself, but in addition for others); however he didn’t imply them to spend all their time in looking for after souls, to the detriment of their very own. Fairly he wished to see of their homes that glad mingling of the lively and contemplative life which our Seraphic Father learnt from Our Lord Himself. Jesus Christ, fleeing from the gang, used occasionally to with draw into the desert and to lonely mountains, whence He would once more descend to converse with males, thus displaying us that on this alter nation of the solitary life and software to exterior works of zeal lies the very best perfection to which we will aspire on earth. Thus it was that he wished his spiritual to withdraw at occasions into solitude, there to reside uniquely occupied with their very own sanctification, that, having gained to God souls wander ing on the earth, they could place their very own in security. Twice annually they have been to enter retreat, making use of themselves critically, in profound spiritual silence, to the work of their very own perfection. With this finish in view he took steps to accumulate the Hermitage of Saint Angelo within the Sabine; and there he based a bit convent to function a Home of Retreat for his spiritual, the place they could conveniently occupy themselves with God alone.
Such was the only objective of the spiritual of the Convent at Florence in founding their Solitude, to evolve themselves to the thought of Blessed Bonaventure. In August, 1712, that they had opened a home at Prato, which turned a Novitiate. The 2 communities, having grown largely in numbers, the extra zealous turned desirous of discovering a spot the place they could extra suitably fulfill their fervour and practise a life nonetheless extra austere and a poverty nonetheless extra rigorous, in order that on their return to their convents they could deliver to the work of the salvation of souls recent vigour and zeal.
God was not lengthy in granting their wishes, for in 1716 they have been provided the Hermitage of Saint Mary of Incontro, some 5 miles from Florence. This spot had been sancti fied of previous by the presence of Blessed Gerard, one of many first Tertiaries of the Order, who typically withdrew there to spend the night time in prayer. The mountain is lofty and forbid ding, far faraway from the noise and tumult of males, awe-inspiring in its loneliness, however, for all that, a spot of profound peace. On its summit there’s a little church and hermitage, and right here, after the required authorizations had been obtained from Rome and the Arch bishop of Florence, the constructing of the Solitude was begun on the 2nd of April, 1716. The location had been already acquired every week earlier, on the Feast of the Annunciation, and the spiritual have been already wanting eagerly ahead to the time once they would be capable of start there their poor and mortified life. On the night time earlier than they have been to set off from Florence, to rejoice, early within the morning, the primary Mass on the Hermitage, there was a heavy fall of snow. Regardless of so horrible an issue, nevertheless, none dreamt of foregoing the pious pilgrimage, and all set forth on foot, treading via the snow as if over a well-trimmed garden, and singing the praises of God. After their arrival, they mentioned amongst themselves the kind of cells to be constructed and the character of the opposite vital workplaces, and positively nothing was proposed besides what was in accordance with probably the most full poverty and tailored to the austere lives they meant to steer within the Solitude. It was lastly organized that the cells of the solitaries ought to quantity eight, and that there must be 4 guest-rooms for guests and superiors; that the cells ought to be 4 ft broad and 7 ft lengthy and 7 and a half ft excessive, in order that one standing inside might simply, by stretching out his arms, contact each partitions, and, by elevating them, attain the roof. This was to be made from thatch solely, and the partitions of naked unplastered brick, in order that the home may breathe all through an air of austere poverty. The doorways have been to be 5 ft excessive and two ft large, and the home windows six inches by twelve; and every cell was to have two planks to function a mattress, two ft large, and a plain picket block as a pillow, and a few blankets as safety towards the chilly; 1 three holy footage additionally fastened to the partitions, a demise s-head, some religious books, a bit of lamp, and nought apart from. The dimensions of the opposite rooms was to be in proportion with the cells, the entire, so far as measurement and the remaining went, to be modelled on the primary convent constructed by the fantastic Saint Peter of Alcantara, who aimed solely at what was strictly needed and nothing extra; and lastly, they laid it down that sooner or later no modification of the buildings was to be allowed. Thus have been they to mimic, so far as attainable, the holy instance handed down by the illustrious Patriarch Saint Francis and his fervent companions.
On these strains, then, poor and abject, was the constructing of the Solitude begun. It was accomplished with the alms of varied benefactors, collected by a saintly layman, to whom the Order owes a lot. On the 23rd of Might, 1717, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the solitary life was begun. Nice was the enjoyment of these first chosen to enter upon it. When, assembled collectively for a religious convention, the Father President invited them, one after the other, to declare their emotions, the Spirit of God so crammed the hearts of those pious solitaries that they might not restrain their tears, confessing themselves unworthy of dwelling in that holy place, and relating to it as a particular favour accorded them by Saint Francis to allow them to watch their Rule with as a lot perfection as their weak spot would permit.
The Constitutions drawn up for the Solitude, though prescribing nice austerities, had however been accepted unanimously, after a secret vote, by the 2 homes. 1 They have been then submitted to and authorised of by the Most Rev. Father Commissary -Common, and acquired the blessing of the Sovereign Pontiff Clement XI of completely happy reminiscence. The Pope was a lot moved as he learn them, for he wholly authorised of the spirit they embodied and the really Franciscan preferrred at which they aimed. For the edification of the reader we suggest to point a couple of of their important factors.
The aim of the Solitude being to facilitate contemplation and the lifetime of union with Almighty God, 9 hours of the day have been allotted to religious workouts, together with psychological prayer and the Divine Workplace. Such is the overall rule, however so nice is the zeal of the solitaries that no matter time stays free is consecrated to God. Some delay their meditation or dedicate themselves to religious studying; others withdraw to secluded elements of the backyard, the extra freely to provide expression earlier than God to the fervent aspirations of their hearts; in order that for all, this sanctuary is as a paradise upon earth.
Their meals consists of salads, greens, and fruit. Meat, fish, eggs, and milk in any type are forbidden them, besides on the feasts of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and Saint Francis, when eggs and milk are allowed. Aside from nowadays, they’ve two programs at dinner, considered one of salad and one among greens, although typically the latter is changed by rice or one thing comparable; and within the night, besides on fast-days, one course of salad or such-like from the backyard. Nevertheless, most days are fast- days, for, like Saint Francis, as could also be learn within the Legends, they maintain 9 Lents, which depart solely fifteen or sixteen non-fasting days annually, and through these Lents the night collation consists solely of bread and fruit.
Each night time, with out exception, even on the best feasts, they take the self-discipline, saying the standard prayers, however so slowly that it lasts almost half an hour. They go all the time barefoot, and sleep, as has been stated, on two slender planks with a block of wooden as a pillow.
While staying on the Solitude they keep a strict enclosure, by no means going outdoors the precincts of the convent, nor writing to anybody besides superiors, and that solely in pressing instances. Silence is so rigorously noticed that, besides the place it will entail grave prejudice to soul or physique, they don’t converse in any respect not merely to outsiders, for they see none, however even amongst themselves, besides once they go to confession, or on the religious conferences, or once they make their “mea culpa ” within the refectory. To keep away from events of talking, they use a contrivance affixed to every door, on that are written the names of these few issues of which every so often they could ordinarily stand in want. By a easy system of slips of wooden sliding in grooves, they will disclose a number of of their wants, and so draw the Father President’s consideration. The place this technique or that of indicators is inadequate, they often write their communication on a slip of paper, their goal ever being to not disturb, be it ever so barely, the profound peace of this Solitude.
On Sundays and Thursdays they’ve a religious convention, carried out as follows: In any case have assembled there’s a quarter of an hour’s religious studying. The President then asks every one of many solitaries in flip to offer slightly religious tackle, they usually proceed to speak to one another all that God has favoured them with in prayer. For solitaries such conferences are of incalculable worth. Their phrases, plainly and easily spoken, unite collectively right into a supply of actual edification, and, introduced thus into contact one with one other, they mutually stimulate the flame of divine charity.
An hour every day is spent in guide work, both cultivating the backyard, or at another helpful occupation, however all the time in probably the most profound silence. For the remaining, they know how one can make the most of religious studying, the Stations of the Cross, frequent ejaculatory prayers, and numerous penitential workouts, to dispose themselves thereby for contemplation and union with God.
Their scanty nourishment is introduced them every week by pack-animal from the Convent of the Mount at Florence. Thus they haven’t any have to busy themselves with temporal considerations. It not unfrequently occurs, in dangerous climate particularly, that the Tertiary, entrusted with this obligation, fails to succour the solitaries in time; however God has all the time offered, in methods kind of unanticipated, for the help of His servants. Notably was this noticeable on the 22nd of December, 1718. An Augustinian friar occurred to be staying on the Solitude on the time making his retreat, in order that the President was greater than ever involved when the Porter informed him the provisions had not but arrived, and that there was nothing for dinner however some bread left over from the day earlier than. He might, nevertheless, do nothing however commend himself to God and hope for one of the best. The spiritual have been already reciting in choir the final prayers of None, after which they have been accustomed to go to the Refectory, when there was a knocking on the door. The Porter hastened instantly to reply it, and was confronted by a stranger bringing a big provide of provisions and, curiously sufficient, exactly the identical variety of rolls as there have been solitaries, together with the customer. Being requested for the identify of the benefactor who had despatched these presents, the stranger replied that that they had however to benefit from the alms despatched them for the love of God, with out inquiring additional; and saying this, he departed and was by no means recognized once more. The poor solitaries have been a lot consoled by this prevalence, and strengthened of their resolve to protect their holy poverty extra jealously than ever, wholly abandoning themselves into the arms of Divine Windfall.
The worth of the Solitude to the spiritual of the Province is past all query. They withdraw there in flip, and all are free to stay so long as they want or as obedience permits. They return to their convents full of zeal to labour extra earnestly for the higher glory of God and the strict observance of their Guidelines. It’s spoken of because the soul of the Province, and considered probably the most efficacious safeguard of observance and promoter of private sanctification among the many Brethren.
Lastly, one should not omit to say the worth of the Solitude to outsiders. An off-the-cuff go to to this holy spot, the sight of the poverty reigning there, and of the austerities practised therein, has introduced tears to the eyes of many, and led them to go away rilled with sorrow and compunction on the distinction provided to their very own self-indulgent lives. The neighbouring individuals, who frequent this holy place, have been splendidly touched and drawn again to God. The President has schools for listening to the confessions of males, and twice a yr spiritual are despatched up from the Convent of the Mount to listen to the confessions of girls. Many strategy the tribunal of Penance, and lots of are the con variations wrought, and all this with none preaching at ail however that of poverty’s silent voice talking from this sanctuary.
However, certainly, it’s hardly to be questioned at that straightforward peasants and poor people ought to be thus moved, seeing that individuals of the very best rank have gone there to study the good lesson of detachment from earthly issues. The Most Serene Grand Duke, devoted as ever to the glory of God, as soon as visited the place for his .soul’s sake, with a number of members of his Courtroom. They might hardly include their emotion as they visited, one after one other, the little cells, and noticed how really the street to Heaven lay therein. Neither have been the Princesses much less edified. To fulfill their devotion they too, regardless of the difficulties of the journey, came around this holy spot, and have been full of consternation on the sight of the austere life led therein; but for them additionally, as they confessed, the go to did however serve to extend their love and generosity in God’s service. A number of prelates, apostolic Nuncios, and different distinguished personages, have been equally moved, and brazenly blessed God for permitting them to see on this sanctuary an eagerness recalling that of the primary days of the Seraphic Order.
Such is Leonard’s well-known “Temporary Sketch of the Basis of the Solitude of Incontro,” past query the most effective monument he has left us of his personal inside spirit and of his views on the apostolic life. Allow us to not be too able to brush all of it apart as a mere unlucky relapse into unenlightened medievalism. In any case, that to which it bears witness is of as undoubted necessity now because it was then: the way of its expression might nicely differ in these occasions, however not the beneath mendacity fact, which stays immutable from the day it was first enunciated. Sine Me nihil potcstis facere (With out Me you are able to do nothing).
It seems that Leonard remained a superior, both at Florence or at Prato the place he acquired one in every of his brothers into the Order for over twenty years. He was solely faraway from workplace in these elements to be chosen Guardian of the Convent of Saint Bonaventure in Rome in 1736, when he was already sixty years previous. To his nice pleasure, he was, nevertheless, lastly relieved of the burden on the Provincial Chapter within the following yr, and changed by his good friend and confessor, Father Jerome.
NOTE ON BLESSED LEOPOLD, OF GAICHES, O.F.M.
Leopold John Croci, as he was on the planet, was born of excellent peasant parentage close to Perugia in 1732. He early confirmed indicators of a vocation to the priesthood, combining piety with the tending of his father’s sheep. After learning Latin together with his parish priest, he joined the Franciscan Order on the age of 19, a number of months solely earlier than Saint Leonard died at Rome. In a lot his life was a reproduction of that of Leonard. Ordained priest in 1757, he was appointed Lector, educating Philosophy for 3 years and Theology for 4. He then entered upon an lively missionary life, which, although he coated a far much less in depth space, intently resembles that of Leonard, being penitential like his and splendidly fruitful. He has left us a collection of “resolutions,” based mostly evidently on these of his predecessor. In 1781 he was chosen Minister-Provincial of the Umbrian Province, marking his time period of workplace by reorganizing the research, and mixing each the place zeal for integral observance with nice charity and sympathy with the Brethren. In the direction of the top of his time period of workplace, he succeeded, regardless of some opposition, in establishing, like Leonard, a Ritiro, or Solitude. The spot chosen was Monte Luco, close to Spoleto. Right here, to the top of his days, lay Leopold’s treasure, and his coronary heart a minimum of was there all the time. The course of his work, each in and out, was rudely interrupted in 1809 by the suppression of spiritual homes consequent upon Napoleon s variations with Pope Pius VII. For a number of years Leopold had cost of a parish, combining together with his new duties, as greatest he may, the austerities of the cloister. He additionally managed to proceed his missions. Earlier than his dying, nevertheless, he had the good pleasure of seeing Monte Luco stay once more. The Group was restored there in 1814, and there Leopold died on the 2nd of April, 1815. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1893.
At Work Overseas
“Venientes autem venient cum exultatione portantes manipulos suos.”
We come now to these huge exterior labours that are Leonard’s best-known declare to distinction, and which mark him out as pre-eminent in that nice line of apostles the Church is ever producing. His work falls naturally into three teams his missions to the plenty, his Retreats to the few, his private letters of religious course.
His missionary actions strike one at a look as prodigious, extending over virtually half a century. His first mission was preached in 1708 at Ortallo, close to Port-Maurice, when he was thirty-two years previous, and for forty-three years, until his dying in November, 1751, he was continuously engaged on this work.
What could also be referred to as his first nice missionary marketing campaign was carried out in Tuscany, when, as we noticed within the final chapter, he was stationed at Florence. To start with, he used his personal con vent church of Saint Francis, however, as the celebrity of the preacher unfold, different and bigger church buildings have been provided him in Florence itself. After evangelizing the town for 2 years, he handed out into the nation, starting on the small city of Pitigliano, the reputed birthplace of the well-known Pope Gregory VII. The steward or, if I could also be allowed a extra trendy however expressive identify, the billeting officer, hooked up to the missionary get together by the Grand Duke, wrote right now to his brother at Florence:
I need to let you understand how fortunate Pitigliano has been in getting this nice servant of God. He has simply completed the mission right here, and now we’re off to Sorano, to sanctify that place, for it isn’t solely a piece of conversion he accomplishes, however of sanctification. Father Leonard is an actual instrument of the Holy Ghost. His very method wins all who are available contact with him, even probably the most hardened. His Royal Highness has completed me the honour of attaching me to the Father’s service, to take care of him, however it’s little I can do both for him or his companions. They insist on begging for the little meals they take, and when, the opposite day, I received prepared for them somewhat suite of 5 rooms, with a mattress for the Father and mattress and bed-clothes, he had the lot turned out and acquired some planks to sleep on as an alternative. I feel God should actually help him miraculously, for I can’t see in any other case how he retains going with a lot work and such austerity.
Prato was one other place to which Leonard directed his steps in 1713, on the particular invitation of the Grand Duke. His providers appear to have been wanted as a lot to conciliate the individuals, who have been disposed to resent the brand new basis constructed from Florence, as to show them to God. However the Saint was properly in a position to deal with this double activity, and succeeded admirably.
It might be unattainable to offer intimately an account of all of the missions which, throughout twenty-two years, Leonard gave all through the Grand Duchy and within the Republic of Genoa. Let an different modern account of one in every of them suffice for this era. It’s left us by the parish priest of Saint Roch at Pistoia:
How grateful I’m that it occurred to me to ask for Father Leonard! God alone can say all the great he has completed, as He alone can measure it. All of the city venerates Father Leonard as a saint and a discovered preacher, and all have been touched by the hearth of his phrases. He wins his means into the hearts of probably the most detached, and even to those that are accustomed to close out the reality and pay attention solely to what flatters them. Solely those that obstinately stayed away altogether have been capable of escape him. The congregations have been unprecedented. Fifteen thousand per sons are estimated to have taken half within the second Penitential Procession, and virtually twenty thousand have been there for the Closing and the Papal Blessing. All of the confessionals within the church buildings of the town have been thronged, and fantastic have been the tendencies of the penitents, who confirmed most exceptional zeal for the welfare of their souls, to the entire neglect of every part else. He has gained the esteem of all, and it was with tears of their eyes that they watched him go. Now they’re anxiously wanting ahead to the time when they could hope to see him of their midst once more. Probably the most distinguished individuals in Pistoia, women and men, got here to Saint Roch at occasions very inconvenient for them, and within the warmth of the day, in an effort to hear him and go to confession. Many individuals even spent the night time within the porch of the church. Thanks be to God for deigning to go to us with such males as these. The impact of the mission could be seen within the devotion with which the Stations of the Cross are made now. It’s a most fantastic sight to observe the trendy women and gents of Pistoia, so averse, as a rule, to outward demonstrations of piety, making the Stations of the Cross with the best fervour and a spotlight, and even kissing the bottom; and that is nonetheless persevering with, although the mission is throughout.
In 1730 Leonard, aged fifty- three, was requested by Cardinal Francis Barberini, Dean of the Sacred School and Bishop of Ostia, to offer a mission at Velletri, and to name to see him at Rome earlier than starting. He accordingly left Florence within the September of that yr, and, after visiting Assisi and the Convent of Saint Mary at Ponticelli, the place he had made his novitiate, arrived in Rome by the top of the month, the entire journey having been made on foot.
While ready for the Cardinal, who occurred to be away from Rome on the time, Leonard consented to offer a mission to the poor individuals, who have been housed in giant numbers on the Hospice of San Gallo. This humble starting was the prelude to a daily collection of missions in Rome, for his eloquence instantly attracted consideration, and most of the clergy and the Aristocracy got here to San Gallo to listen to him. The congregation elevated day by day, until at size Leonard needed to abandon the church and preach within the courtyard of the Hos pice, individuals crowding on to each balcony and window to listen to him. As quickly as he had completed at San Gallo, different and bigger church buildings at Rome have been instantly provided him, and his programs of sermons solely ceased with the arrival of Cardinal Barberini and his personal departure for the lengthy organized mission at Velletri. This loved all of the success and produced all these good outcomes which the Cardinal had anticipated. The individuals turned enthusiastic and flocked in crowds to listen to the sermons. At its shut, Leonard, anxious to keep away from the general public ovation which was being ready for him, needed to slip away in the direction of Rome within the early hours of the morning earlier than anybody was up. His subsequent mission was within the giant church of Santa Maria de Trastevere, however right here once more the crowds have been so nice that it was unimaginable to accommodate all of them, and lots of have been pressured to face outdoors on the street.
In the meantime the Grand Duke Cosmo of Tuscany and his consort, Violante, seen with displeasure Leonard’s extended absence, and despatched a small vessel to the port of Rome with a urgent invitation to him to return. This he did, with the Pope’s blessing and the permission of his superiors, and on his arrival at Florence was greeted by the residents with vigorous demonstrations of regard. He then withdrew for a number of days full retirement to the Solitude of Incontro earlier than recommencing his Tuscan apostolate.
Tuscany, nevertheless, was not destined to monopolize the Saint’s actions. A number of Cardinal Bishops who had heard him at Rome, persuaded his superiors to summon him once more to the capital, and in November, 1731, Leonard was as soon as extra journeying south preparatory to an extended collection of missions, extending over six years, within the numerous dioceses round Rome. It was throughout these programs that Leonard obtained permission to withdraw for a month to the solitary Convent of Saint Angelo de Montorio Romano within the Sabine hills, when he wrote the letter to Brother Stephen talked about within the final chapter. Two or 3 times additionally he visited Florence, to attend the native elections and regulate the affairs of the Convent.
In 1736 we discover him preaching a mission at Civita-Vecchia. The mission lasted three weeks, and was carried out from the bridge of one of many ships, a number of others being grouped alongside. Crowds poured down from the town and mingled with the troopers and sailors, convicts and galley-slaves, who thronged across the preacher. Fantastic was his success, and particular amenities for confession got the prisoners, who have been allowed ashore to go to the missioners at their lodging. While at Civita-Vecchia, Leonard wrote thus to Brother Stephen at Rome:
Yesterday I preached within the jail: not many there, however the first sermon appears to have touched them, and all went to confession. We went afterwards to go to an English captain, who needed to see me, on his vessel. We discovered three or 4 of them who had assisted on the sermons and appeared disposed to desert their heresy. Poor fellows, that they had been extra moved by what that they had seen than what that they had heard, for they hardly perceive the language in any respect, which solely exhibits that grace is the prime mover in stirring the guts. On the entire the harvest guarantees properly. Tomorrow we start the course for the galley-slaves.
After his temporary interval of workplace as Guardian at Rome, Leonard was prevailed on, in the direction of the top of 1737, to return north in the direction of Tuscany and Florence. After a brief interval of repose on the Solitude of Incontro if one might converse in such phrases of the life he led there he started a 3rd missionary marketing campaign in these elements. It was throughout this era that he preached a mission within the cathedral at Assisi, and one other at Rieti, and others in numerous cities of the Marches of Ancona, acquainted of previous to Saint Francis. In 1740 he was as soon as extra summoned again to Rome by his superiors, and spent the November of that yr in preaching. In January, 1741, he gave a mission at Terracina, after which, on the categorical want of the newly elected Pope, Benedict XIV, he went off to evangelise at Gaeta.
Right here Leonard met with appreciable opposition on the a part of the garrison. Gaeta appears to have been a army centre of some notice, and simply previous to Leonard’s arrival nice preparations had been made and bills incurred by the members of the Officers Membership in view of the approaching carnival. The Saint’s arrival was seemed on as some factor of a disaster, and no effort was spared to cripple his apostolate. Seeing how issues stood, Leonard instantly made it recognized that he had no want nor intention to attempt to cease individuals having fun with themselves; all he requested was that no lively opposition ought to be raised to those that may want to attend his mission. Then he started, and, as ordinary, carried every thing earlier than him. All concepts of carnival-keeping pale away earlier than his inspiring eloquence, until lastly the very officers themselves joined with the huge crowds who thronged round his pulpit. As he was leaving, Leonard acquired a go to from one of many senior officers of the garrison, who expressed his remorse, within the identify of his comrades, for the opposition that they had initially provided to the mission.
After giving a number of missions within the territory of the Republic of Genoa whither he had gone on the categorical request of the Doge, or chief Justice of the Peace together with one in his native city of Port-Maurice, which, regardless of the proverb, was an amazing success, Leonard was despatched, by mutual settlement of Pope and Doge, to evangelise within the island of Corsica.
For the previous twelve years or extra the Corsicans had been in a persistent state of revolt towards the overlordship of Genoa. In 1731 that they had provided the sovereignty of their island to the Pope, who had correctly declined the uncertain honour. Since then, after passing successively to France and Sardinia, to the revenue of neither, the island had as soon as extra reverted, in concept at any fee, to Genoa. The situation of each Church and State within the island had, throughout these years, grow to be deplorable, and Leonard was actually despatched on a quasi-political mission, to do what he might to enhance the overall circumstances, each temporally and spiritually. That is made clear from his letters of the interval, a number of of that are addressed to Authorities officers both at Bastia or Genoa. As well as, he drew up two Memoranda, sketching the state of affairs as he discovered them and suggesting cures one for the Genoese Commissary-Basic at Bastia, and the opposite for one of many State Secretaries of the house Authorities. All present to what extent political pursuits have been concerned in his apostolate.
On this troubled sea, then, did Leonard embark in Might, 1744, being now sixty-seven years of age. For him the very important points have been religious, the glory of God and the salvation of souls being ever his single goal. His first act, on touchdown at Bastia, was to say Mass within the Franciscan church. He then had an extended interview with the Governor, arranging the small print of his missions and gaining further perception into the state of issues within the island. The city of Mariana was chosen for the opening sermons, and thither Leonard and his companions set out on foot.
On this new subject of labour the Saint confirmed greater than ever that fantastic capability of his already manifested in sure cities of Italy for bringing peace to warring and discordant factions. His process was no straightforward one, for, along with the pure disposition of the inhabitants, educated up in an environment of fixed feuds and sanguinary vendettas, Leonard was recognized to be himself one of many hated Genoese, and, in truth, a hardly disguised emissary of the Authorities, which was loathed and detested by each patriotic Corsican. Arrived at Mariana in a state of nice fatigue after a most making an attempt journey, he discovered himself plunged instantly in an environment of suspicion and hostility and get together strife. “We would like no Genoese right here, nor Authorities brokers disguised as missioners.” Such was the spirit Leonard had to deal with. It was uphill work in additional senses than one, however he triumphed as utterly over the hearts of the islanders as he did over their tough and mountainous roads.
Mariana pacified, he handed on to Casinga, and thence to Casacconi, preaching in all places peace and forgiveness, and perpetuating his work by the erection of the Stations of the Cross, a devotion he inculcated unceasingly, as calculated better of all to steer the individuals to place apart all emotions of rancour and revenge and exchange them with the charity of Christ. All over the place probably the most fantastic success attended his efforts, not unaccompanied at occasions with portents which, supernatural or not, tended to drive residence his educating. Thus on one event a fierce younger man, armed to the tooth, cried out throughout certainly one of Leonard’s prolonged sermons, ” When will this monk cease preaching peace?” and instantly collapsed in a lifeless faint and needed to be carried off.
Initially of every mission his viewers, as a rule, resembled an armed host; every group, headed by its chief, stored itself vigorously aside, prepared on the slightest provocation to fall on their hereditary enemies, a mere imagined signal of hostility being adequate to set them flying at one another’s throats. Progressively because the mission progressed, the eye of the viewers would come to be much less targeting themselves and extra on the tall, sparse type of the aged friar preaching, with out signal of worry or political reference, the blessings of peace and the facility of charity. All would conclude triumphantly with a basic reconciliation and the singing of the Te Deum.
An entire collection of letters illustrates this arduous interval in Leonard’s apostolic life. Right here is one to the Archbishop-Coadjutor of Genoa, which provides us a superb image of his work and difficulties:
Our missions proceed to be blest by God. … In each parish we encounter most formidable feuds, however peace and tranquillity progressively come to the highest eventually. Nevertheless, until the administration of justice will get robust sufficient to stamp out these vendettas, the great we’re doing can solely be transitory. Nonetheless, we work on all the identical, and to-morrow our sixth mission begins, right here on this commune of Rostino. … To be able to attend, these poor individuals should climb over steep mountains, neglect their affairs, and cease the place the mission is being given from morning until night, since it’s out of the query for them to return residence and are available again once more the identical day. We preach within the open beneath the chestnut-trees, the crowds are so nice. They’ll put up with all these inconveniences for eight or ten days, however not for extra; and the wants in all places are monumental, and much more time is admittedly required.
In all places we come up towards probably the most profound ignorance, for throughout all these current years^of warfare the individuals have had no instruction no matter. The younger males are dissolute, undisciplined, and avoid the sacraments; many don’t even hassle to make their Easter Duties, and, what’s worse, nobody thinks of reminding or exhorting them. When I’ve a chance of assembly the Bishops I shall allow them to know what I feel. Nevertheless, although the work could be very exacting, the harvest is ample, and it consoles us to see how God is being glorified.
As if a mountainous nation and a warlike, ignorant inhabitants didn’t represent difficulties sufficient, the missioners have been continually harassed by the worry of a basic revolt, and his comrades have been removed from sharing Leonard’s personal intrepid braveness. The deep-seated unrest was, certainly, not onerous to detect, and in a letter on the state of affairs to one of many Authorities Secretaries at Genoa, during which he requested for a written assure that no additional taxes have been to be imposed, in order that he may insert it in a public letter he was getting ready, Leonard thought it sensible to ask for ” a immediate reply, as a result of, if there’s an rebel, my companions, who’re dreadfully timid, are all for instant flight, during which case I shall definitely need to comply with them.”
To complicate issues nonetheless additional, Leonard learnt in the future, to his horror, that his identify was figuring in a cast doc, purporting to be issued together with his approval, summoning the notable of Corsica to a reunion at Corte. The aim of the assembly was to debate the newest Authorities proposals in regards to the political independence of the islanders. Little doubt might exist as to what the upshot of such a gathering can be, and Leonard needed to take immediate measures to avert the hazard. He was busy in Corte on the time, and he instantly mounted the platform, whence he was accustomed to deal with the individuals, and boldly denounced the forgery and people who have been liable for it, calling down the vengeance of God on all who, in any method no matter, continued to foment the prevailing discord. His eloquence gained the day, and the threatened upheaval of fashionable ardour was briefly averted.
Poor Leonard! It was all most desperately wearying, this fixed correspondence with the authorities, imploring immediate measures to calm the unrest and verify the widespread violence; this incessant preaching, exhorting the great, urging on the slack, threatening the unrepentant; this fixed shifting about up and down the island; and one feels on a regular basis that he should have suspected, as he plodded over these hilly, rock-strewn roads, that each one the good work he was doing was not more likely to endure. Was he stunned when Pope Benedict XIV. wrote to him within the following yr: “The Corsicans have fallen into worse excesses than ever because the missions; that’s the reason it isn’t thought opportune so that you can return?” Small marvel that after six months of such a life his power broke down utterly. In November he returned to Bastia in a state of full collapse. The docs did all they might for him, however with the speedy strategy of winter it was judged crucial for him to return to Italy. The Authorities despatched over a particular boat for him, and, after circulating a letter all through the island, explaining his departure, Leonard returned to Genoa.
When he had sufficiently recovered his power, Leonard commenced a mission at Genoa. Europe was right now distracted by the Conflict of the Austrian Succession, during which England, Austria, and Prussia have been pitted towards France and Spain. In these days Spain rubbed up towards Austria within the northern areas of the Italian peninsula, and so Leonard, as he pursued his missionary actions in these elements, discovered himself preaching to a inhabitants harassed by the presence of rival armies. There was, as well as, a battle happening a kind of subsidiary aspect present to the good conflict between Genoa, supported by France and Spain, and the dominion of Sardinia, supported by Maria Theresa. Such an unfavourable environment induced the Saint to make for much less troubled pastures.
In January, 1746, after giving missions at Ravenna and Argenta, he wrote thus from the latter place to Father Peter at Rome:
Through the thirty-eight years I’ve been giving missions I don’t assume any have been so fruitful as these. Assist me to thank God for all of it. We will be right here three extra days to complete the harvest, after which we go to Massa, within the Diocese of Imola. After an eighteen days mission there, we will go on to Ferrara, the place Cardinal Crescenzi is impatiently awaiting us. I shall keep in mind you to him. In Lent I shall be giving Retreats to nuns, and shall have the ability to learn your guide on Our Woman, for at current I ve no time. Every little thing needs to be accomplished in a rush; I preach 3 times a day, hear confessions, settle a number of difficulties that are regularly cropping up, and so my time goes. I make up a bit of in the course of the night time, however this can be a chilly place, and meaning no mild mortification.
After punctuating his exterior actions by a Retreat with the Carthusians within the Diocese of Ferrara, we discover him lastly, in 1749, at Rome, engaged in each mission and Retreat work, and giving appreciable time to listening to the confessions of those that flocked to him on the Convent of Saint Bonaventure.
It was throughout this era that he completed a piece, lengthy in thoughts, of erecting the Stations of the Cross within the Coliseum. The solemn opening occurred on the 2yth of December, 1750. A bit later he writes thus to his previous pal Cardinal Crescenzi:
I get previous my voice the identical as ever, however my power removed from what it was. Yesterday I preached on the Coli seum, the place we’ve put up an exquisite set of the Stations of the Cross. There was an amazing crowd and nice fervour. My voice carried because it did two years in the past, however I felt worn out. It’s a comfort, nevertheless, to see how this Coliseum is not a standard spot, however an actual sanctuary, for it’s the preferred Stations of the Cross in Rome.
We should depart to a later chapter an account of Leonard’s final missions and dying.
All through his lengthy apostolic profession Leonard was continuously engaged in giving Retreats. We’ve talked about his first one, while nonetheless a deacon, to the convent women at Rome. Later we discover him, on the conclusion of a mission, preaching a Retreat, with wonderful outcomes, to the College college students at Pisa; and it was a frequent customized of his, when at Rome, to offer Retreats throughout Lent to lay-people within the palace of one of many Roman Princes. In the direction of the shut of 1749 he gave a number of Retreats to the laity within the numerous church buildings of Rome, preparatory to the Jubilee yr of 1750.
It doesn’t seem that he gave any Retreats to the clergy, however he made a apply in his missions of assembling the native clergy collectively and giving them what he speaks of as a cc mystic and ethical discourse.” This typically developed right into a Triduum of Religious Workouts. His function in all this he expressed on one event, when he stated: “If I achieve profitable the confessors, the success of the mission is assured.”
He was in fixed demand for Retreats for spiritual communities of nuns, and his letters include frequent references to such work.
Thus in June, 1732, he writes from Viterbo to Brother Stephen: u I’m a lot occupied with these spiritual actually, they gained’t let me go; I m with them from morning until night time.”
Once more in August, 1734, he writes from Florence: ” Subsequent week I’ve to go to Prato, because the Brethren there need to see me, after which to the Convent of Visitation Nuns at Marsa.”
In March, 1747, Leonard wrote thus to Father Peter at Rome:
As for me, I shall learn your ebook throughout Holy Week, which I hope to spend in Retreat with the Carthusians. I shall write as quickly as I’ve completed it. At current I’m making a tour of the convents. A variety of good is being completed, nevertheless it’s much more tiring work than the missions.
From Narni he wrote subsequent yr to the identical Father:
Subsequent week I shall be busy with the nuns. There are 5 convents right here. The scrupulous, one should merely reduce brief, in any other case one would by no means finish. Nevertheless, your protegee will get extra mild remedy; however, consider me, it’s probably the most terribly wearisome work of all.
Throughout his final missionary marketing campaign, earlier than his dying, Leonard was in frequent correspondence with the Pope, Benedict XIV., who took a very affectionate curiosity within the work and welfare of the Saint. Writing from Lucca in Might, 1751, Leonard says:
We have been prevented from opening the mission as quickly as organized, however it’ll start on Ascension Day. In the meantime, I’ve been busy with the nuns. As quickly as I arrived, all of the convents have been agog to get me. However how a lot better issues are right here than at Florence! right here one meets with actually saintly spiritual, and it’s due in giant measure to the zeal and vigilance of the great Archbishop.
Not a number of letters of religious path have come right down to us, which present us that Leonard knew methods to flip additionally to good function this third powerful, if unostentatious, technique of apostolate. Of specific curiosity is his correspondence with the family of the exiled Stuarts. Here’s a letter to the Saint from the son of James II, recognized in England because the Pretender, and in Italy as King James III.
12th February 1735.
A thousand because of my pricey Father Leonard for his letter of the ist inst. I’ve been all the time which means to put in writing since my late be reavement (the demise of his spouse, the Princess Mary Clementine), however have had no leisure. Nevertheless, I didn’t fail to burn unread considered one of your letters discovered, with different papers, underneath the Queen’s pillow after her demise.
Your letter was a terrific comfort. Doubtless she was prepared for Heaven, and I belief God will grant her there all her wishes. I’ve so much to inform you, each on her account and on mine, however am unwilling to place it in writing apart from, my hand nonetheless makes writing troublesome. Consequently I’m very anxious to have a chat with you. Your phrases are all the time a assist for me and a information, and, in addition to, I’ve some particulars concerning the Queen which I really feel positive will curiosity you, as they did me. Let me know, then, once we might hope to see you right here.
Many thanks for the prayers stated for the repose of the Queen’s soul, and for the share you so kindly permit me in your personal. In them I’ve nice confidence, and for you all the time probably the most honest regard.
Sadly, all Leonard’s letters to the Princess Mary Clementine have been burnt, on the Saint’s categorical want, after her demise. There’s frequent point out of them in his letters to Brother Stephen, the place we always learn, “Enclosed a letter for the Queen,” or “Be so good as to ahead, as standard, the enclosed letter to the Queen.” If these, nevertheless, are misplaced to us, we nonetheless have a number of to the Duchess Isabel Strozzi, one of many Queen’s acquainted attendants and pals.
In February, 1735, he wrote to her from Jesi, simply after the Queen’s dying:
I write to you in simply the identical method as I did to the Queen. It happy me to see the honours which were paid her. Now you and I need to attempt to revenue by her instance. The world admires her exterior virtues, her penitential life, her modesty, her love of retirement, her devotion to obligation; however Leonard admires extra her inside virtues, her abso lute detachment from creatures, her love of struggling, not merely bodily all bodily ache she appeared on as a treasure however much more of religious struggling, for it’s clear God meant to crucify her outwardly and inwardly as nicely. Such was the supply of her intimate union with God, and of that ardent love which always crammed her coronary heart, rendering pointless all exterior consolations. Such, above all, was the supply of that inside peace of hers, which gave her on earth a foretaste of Heaven. Allow us to flip to God and attempt to love Him as she did, as fervently as ever we will, for the time is brief and, as we see, every little thing round us is fading away to its finish. So allow us to depart all, that we might discover our all in God.
Definitely I shall do no matter I can that will help you, although my work leaves me little time. Nonetheless, to write down to you typically will probably be a pleasure, and can remind me of once I used to put in writing to the Queen.
A number of subsequent letters to the Duchess, on the Inside Life, present us how Leonard stored his promise. His doctrine is often just like and, little question, based mostly on that of Saint Francis de Gross sales, as when he exhorts the Duchess to permit nothing ever to ruffle her peace of coronary heart, or tells her to not fear about emotions of affection and devotion, or when he bids her purpose above all issues at sanctifying the little actions of her day by day life, that being the truest and shortest street to holiness.
In the direction of the shut of the identical yr, 1735, Leonard wrote to her as follows:
I would like you to be holy. God has nice designs in your soul, so don’t spoil them by tepidity. Be trustworthy to God and docile to His inspirations. Reside in retirement, recollection, and detachment from the world. In case you are actually united to God, you’ll be of all of the larger service to these in whose welfare you’re so deeply .
Once more, simply after Christmas:
As for ourselves, don’t allow us to fail to be true to God, making an attempt to develop increasingly good. Within the methods of God, he who doesn’t advance falls again, and to advance we should do violence to ourselves and endure. However it’s exactly this ha’porth of struggling that nobody needs to spend. We put our selves to all types of inconvenience to fulfill our paltry passions, however when it’s a query of overcoming them, we gained’t transfer a finger or put up with the least factor. What a depressing state of affairs!
One may extend to some size these quotations from Leonard’s letters to the Duchess Strozzi, however let two extra suffice. In March, 1738, Leonard wrote to her from Florence:
I used to be very a lot happy on the good decision you will have taken of following in all issues what you understand to be the Will of God that’s the perfection and fulness of charity and the fount of all benefit. Cling intently to this spirit, and don’t let it slip out of your coronary heart. Make use of it on these events, so incessantly recurring, when self-love is wounded. All the things that occurs to us, sin excepted, is ordained by the loving Windfall of God. Might His Holy Can be accomplished, then, no matter our repugnance could also be, and we will be shifting over an ocean of peace. As for distractions, dryness, and such like, these are all extra vital for you than your day by day bread. God means you to have them, for He is aware of that with out them you’d turn into a useless little lady, a type of superior, religious individuals who, past measure, displease Him. As issues are, nevertheless, humbly recognizing your self for what you’re, you’ll come to please God in proportion as you displease your self.
Once more, in November, 1739, he writes from Palombara:
Might the grace of the Holy Spirit dwell in your coronary heart! 1 envy you your Retreat. The best blessing we will take pleasure in on this world, so it appears to me, is to reside united to God in holy solitude. Each contact of the outer world is filled with bitterness, filled with a thousand risks, fruitful in problems, while intercourse with God is filled with sweetness and peace; the soul learns to know herself; she humbles herself and disabuses herself of a lot, and comes to know the im portance of what’s everlasting and the vainness of all that passes with time. Fastened in God, she turns into mistress over herself, and acquires nice dominion over her passions. Thus does she enter into peace and inside tranquillity, and finds her sole delight within the good accomplishment of the loving Will of God, and every little thing else turns into distasteful to her.
Thank Our Divine Lord for granting you so valuable a present. Be trustworthy to Him. Search Him not outdoors however inside your self, and the sunshine of Religion will open out to you an abundance of comfort.
As for me, I shall not fail to advocate you to Jesus. I really feel it to be my obligation, for I earnestly want to see you holy. Do the identical for me. You additionally could be a missioner, regardless that alone, by providing to the Everlasting Father the Blood of Jesus Christ, that He might contact the hearts of these to whom I preach.
This mission has been blessed by God. At this time we depart for Olevano; that’s the reason I can’t write extra absolutely. There isn’t any lack of labor.
I depart you within the sacred aspect of Jesus, and stay,
Your Excellency’s humble and devoted servant,
Right here is certainly one of Leonard’s letters to his personal brethren. It’s written to Father John-Baptist of Varallo, Vicar of the Convent of Saint Bonaventure at Rome, and one of many Lectors in Theology there:
17th Might, 1745.
DEAR FATHER IN JESUS CHRIST,
Might the peace of Jesus be with you! I’ve written to the Brother of the “quest” to recollect me to the nuns of Saint Catherine, and to inform them I shall pray so much for Sister Dominic, who has achieved a lot for us. For those who occur to see the Rev. Father Assistant once more, give him my kindest regards, and thank him for all of the curiosity he has taken in me. Do your greatest to sanctify the nuns at Fara, and ask them to wish for me, as I pray for them.
As for the Lent you’re proposing to evangelise at Varallo, for the current I ought to say, depart it. Attempt relatively to grasp your sermons and directions, and you’ll do twice as a lot good afterwards. The wars are one more reason for my saying no. My pricey Father, don’t go until all these troubles are over.
I actually overlook what our religious convention was about once we have been final collectively. From what you say I feel it should have been on the means I’ve tried to undertake of retaining myself in that peace of coronary heart with out which we’re of no use to ourselves nor to anybody else. They’re 4.
The primary is to be lifeless to the world, to creatures, to oneself, to all that isn’t God. We should maintain our hearts so disentangled from earthly issues as to make no extra account of what’s not God or doesn’t relate to Him than we might of a grain of sand.
The second is to reside in a state of absolute self-surrender within the arms of Divine Windfall. We should look upon the occasions of every day, nice or small, nice or unpleasant, as so many tendencies of this fatherly Windfall, ordaining or permitting issues to be as they’re, being fairly sure that each one is for the most effective, and making for the glory of God and our personal salvation.
The third is to like struggling, whether or not inside or exterior, to welcome abjection and scorn and the being cold-shouldered by males. Happiness in Heaven lies in pleasure; on earth, in struggling. Once we discover ourselves getting disgusted with illness, with being thought little of, with trials, allow us to flip to Jesus instantly; His fixed companions have been contempt, sorrow, and the deepest poverty.
The fourth is to not undertake an excessive amount of at a time, nevertheless good it might all be, however solely what our ministry calls for, and obedience. Above all by no means act in a rush, impetuously, however calmly and quietly; a self- restraint should characterize our phrases and actions and our entire bearing.
I ship you these guidelines as I wrote them out for myself in my Resolutions. I look at myself on them day-after-day, and discover that I’ve all the time failed in one thing. I hope you’ll revenue by them higher than I do. Pray for me.
a last instance of Leonard’s spirituality widespread sense, let me give a letter, on one other topic, which he wrote to considered one of his personal brothers:
To talk fairly frankly, my very pricey brother, I consider you’re underneath a delusion. You appear to have received into your head the foolish notion that it’s unimaginable so that you can stay chaste. This false precept being fastened in your thoughts, it follows that at every temptation you instantly surrender. It’s fairly true that with out God’s grace we can’t stay a chaste life, however it’s none the much less true that God provides His grace to those that attempt their greatest. Facienti quod est in se Deus non denegat gratiam (From the person who does what lies in him God withholds not grace). Consequently, when a temptation comes, flip straight to God, and He’ll allow you to. He has stated so, clearly: Petite et accifietis (Search and ye shall obtain); and with God’s assist you’ll hold from sin. Impress, then, on your self this nice fact. Even when all of the devils in hell have been let unfastened towards you, to steer you into sin, but, when you don’t need to, you gained’t sin, offered you place your belief, not in your personal powers, however in the help of God: an help which, I repeat, He doesn’t refuse to those that ask it with a vigorous religion. That is the one option to get away from the labyrinth you’re in. In fact, you need to keep away from harmful events and hold guard over your eyes. Attempt it, and you will notice the great outcomes. In the meantime I like to recommend you to God, that He might provide the true spirit of penance and of mortification with out which it’s no straightforward factor to conquer so degrading a vice. Might God bless you.
With this choice from Leonard’s letters of religious course we should conclude our temporary assessment of him as the person of motion.
Work on Himself
“Labor est ante me, donae intrem in sanctuarium Dei.”
It’s all the time a daring factor to deal with of the internal lifetime of a Saint, and however too typically the try fails to do justice to its topic; for in any case, “No man is aware of the issues of a person, however the spirit of a person which is in him.” Probably the most one can hope to do is simply to deliver into aid these features of a Saint’s character which lie away from the primary, open currents of his life, however which none the much less type an integral a part of it.
Within the case of Leonard the duty is made simpler by the truth that, apart from his letters, we’ve got additionally his Resolutions , which give us some perception into what method of man he was.
Two devotions of his stand out conspicuously that to the Ardour of Our Lord, and that to Our Woman. The previous discovered expression within the day by day follow, every time attainable, of the Stations of the Cross, and by fixed meditation on its mysteries.
I shall meditate night time and day on the Ardour of our Blessed Lord, however notably in the course of the Divine Workplace…. So that the reminiscence of our Pricey Saviour might by no means be effaced from the minds of males, I shall unfold this holy train of the Means of the Cross wherever I’m going. I shall spare no pains to take away all difficulties so that this holy train could also be adopted with devotion. I shall typically give it as a penance, and induce different confessors to do the identical; for if the remembrance of the Ardour is deeply engraved on the hearts of the individuals, their conduct might be holy and their common tendencies higher (Resolutions, chap. xx).
The erection of the Stations of the Cross turned an invariable function in Leonard’s missions. He continuously mentions it in his letters. In his Corsican marketing campaign it was one of many means he most relied on to instill into his fierce audiences the gentler spirit of Christ; and it was however a satisfying of a long-cherished dream when he was in a position, as we’ve seen, to erect them, every in its personal little chapel, within the Coliseum at Rome. Leonard was, in reality, largely instrumental in securing for this devotion the recognition it nonetheless enjoys.
Leonard’s love for Our Blessed Woman led him, over and above his private practices of devotion, to do his utmost to acquire the dogmatic definition of her Immaculate Conception. We have now letters of his on this topic to the Apostolic Nuncio at Paris, in one in every of which he exhorts that prelate to attempt to induce the French Courtroom to press the affair at Rome, for ” already the Crown of Spain is taking eager curiosity within the difficulty. . . . Inform His Eminence Cardinal Fleury that if he needs to see the world at peace, France glad, heresies overthrown, political difficulties with overseas Powers vanish, he should do all he can to get the Immaculate Conception declared an article of religion.
The Saint then proceeds to stipulate a plan, subsequently adopted, of convoking “a basic council, with none expense, and with out the Bishops having to go away their sees. The thought is that each one the Bishops, political rulers, and heads of spiritual Orders, ought to handle in writing to the Pope at Rome their petition for this favour, and there you’ve got a requirement from the Common Church. The thought is taking root and appears promising.”
Six years later Leonard was writing on the identical topic to a prelate in Rome, with a lot much less con fidence, nevertheless, although with undiminished passion:
I want to have this thriller declared an article of religion. Don’t draw again in alarm, as if it have been trying the unimaginable. Imaginary difficulties are exactly what are blocking crucial affair on the earth.
After outlining his hopes and the grounds of them, Leonard closes his letter with an impassioned attraction, ” begging you to hitch me and to vow to be unswervingly dedicated to this holy thriller, in order that, once we are each in Heaven, we will have the ability to say, Mom, well-beloved, I’ve pleaded your trigger.
In chapter 20 of his Resolutions we learn:
I want to have probably the most tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin, in whose arms I’ve positioned the essential affair of my everlasting salvation. I really like her most ardently as a son loves the sweetest of moms. I would like all to like her and present her the best respect. Subsequently I shall ship her panegyric as fervently as I can, hoping that each one could also be crammed with love for therefore nice a Queen. Above all, I shall be notably religious to the thriller of her Immaculate Conception. . . . I shall additionally honour her because the Mom of Sorrows, considering of her in her ache and struggling.
We’re nonetheless, nevertheless, however on the perimeter of Leonard’s internal life. His Resolutions written, we should keep in mind, for himself, and so not essentially appropriate for an additional present us clearly to what an extent he was continuously engaged in overcoming that lasting problem within the religious life, the want to be holy. Si vis per- fectus esse (if thou wilt be good); there lies the entire problem. If we need to be holy, we will be, however in most of us, deep, deep down, there’s an voiceless acquiescence in remaining simply as we’re. That is how Leonard handled the query in his Resolutions (chapter 23):
I want to be animated with a sensible and energetic religion. I function having a hope as firm- as if I have been assured of everlasting salvation. I want to love God unceasingly, and to emulate, if potential, the love of the tender Mom of God. I suggest to practise the advantage of faith as constantly as I can, giving to God the worship resulting from Him, with my lips, my coronary heart, and my physique. I function practising holy humility, not solely by struggling contempt with endurance, however even by needing it and rejoicing in it. In a phrase, I objective practising all these virtues, in all their perfection, as probably the most eminent Saints in Heaven have accomplished. But, nevertheless good these functions could also be, and nevertheless holy these resolutions might seem, if they don’t seem to be based on true and deep humility, if they don’t seem to be based mostly on diffidence of self, making me see clearly and actually consider that I’m as far faraway from these heroic virtues as Heaven is from earth, and that I shall by no means be capable of practise them as I ought with no particular grace from God for, as our Holy Father Saint Francis says, we’re nothing greater than what our works present us to be all my functions and resolutions will solely serve to foment vainness and nourish religious satisfaction.
Goal excessive, then, was Leonard’s precept, different clever we will get nowhere in any respect.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was a particular object of Leonard’s devotion. He wrote just a little ebook on it referred to as The Hidden Treasure, through which he laments the widespread indifference to this nice supply of religious power and life. Within the third chapter of his Resolutions, he speaks of it thus:
With regard to Holy Mass I shall put together myself for it in addition to ever I can, and for this function I shall go to confession twice a day, permitting for this on a regular basis that could be essential. And if typically I can’t kneel on the ft of a priest to admit my sins, both as a result of my occupations won’t allow me, or as a result of I can’t conveniently discover one, I shall make a religious confession on the ft of Jesus Christ, going by way of the identical acts and imposing a penance on myself comparable to I may need acquired had I actually been to confession. I shall act thus to be able to strategy the altar with the best purity of coronary heart and thus improve divine grace, which I hope to strengthen extra by a single confession than by all different good works, it doesn’t matter what they could be. When I’ve adequate time I shall recite the Psalms prescribed by the Church; if not, I shall make up for them by inside acts. I shall by no means say Mass, even on the most important feast-days, with out sporting my hair-shirt, and that can be a continuing reminder of the Ardour of Jesus Christ. I shall endeavour to be very actual in going by way of all of the ceremonies and in observing the rubrics, making the crosses and genuflections with out the least omission. I shall make each effort to seem with an edifying modesty exteriorly, and to be really recollected inside. I shall pay particularly nice consideration to the which means of the phrases, bearing additionally in thoughts the 4 principal ends for which this holy and lovable sacrifice is obtainable viz., to reward the Divine Majesty, to Whom infinite praises are due; to fulfill the justice of God for the various sins I’ve dedicated; to thank Him for the various advantages He has conferred upon me; and to implore His assist because the Dispenser of all graces. On the Communion I shall excite in my coronary heart energetic acts of religion, love, and contrition, and an amazing want of being wholly reworked into Jesus Christ; speaking day by day as if, like a dying man, it have been for the final time in my life. After Mass I shall make my thanksgiving within the typical method, reciting the customary prayers.
I want all I do from Mass to Compline to be so many acts of thanksgiving for the good profit I’ve acquired, and from Compline to Mass to be all in preparation for this august sacrifice. I’m satisfied that my biggest efforts on this preparation and thanksgiving ought to be to convey thereto a pure and humble coronary heart, which, enlightened by a vigorous religion, will produce acts of inside humility, homage, reward, love, and contrition. As Holy Mass is probably the most valuable treasure we now have on earth, I shall hear all of the Plenty I probably can.
Of the Divine Workplace, Leonard says in his Resolutions (chap, iv.) that he’ll look on the choir because the “place of my delight.” He organized for himself a way whereby he allotted to the varied elements of the Workplace some scene within the Ardour of Our Lord on which to meditate. Outdoors choir he took the decision to recite the Workplace all the time on his knees.
Chapter 5 is dedicated to psychological prayer:
As to psychological prayer (he writes), I shall make each effort to turn into fairly accustomed to it, in order that it might be my day by day bread. Therefore I shall by no means omit the three hours prescribed for it in our Constitutions, and if I can’t allot this time to it in the course of the day on account of my occupations, I shall make up for it through the night time. When the duties imposed on me by obedience forestall me from having the standard time for prayer, or if I’m out of the Friary, or on a journey, or employed in different issues, I shall observe strict silence and maintain myself iii inside recollection, requesting my companion to be ok to not interrupt me. That is what I function doing with the help of God, being nicely conscious that with out inside grace I can’t be trustworthy to those holy resolutions.
On missions I shall by no means neglect my strange prayer, and I shall learn the topic beforehand. I shall take note of the hours given to prayer in our homes, in order that I’ll then recollect myself interiorly and type totally different acts in my coronary heart, whether or not at research or employed in different issues, and even preaching. Furthermore, having discharged my atypical duties, whether or not at house or on missions, I shall make use of on a regular basis nonetheless remaining within the train of prayer. I shall thus be all the time chatting with God and stay recollected in His Divine Presence. I shall then type divers inside acts in accordance with what I stated above, or by a easy however intimate and loving regard I shall benefit from the sweetness of His dialog. Therefore I shall keep away from, as a lot as attainable, all firm with lay-people, until I’m obliged for grave causes to converse with them. I shall not hassle myself within the least as to whether or not they name me impolite or rude for not visiting them. If I’m at residence I shall stay in my cell or within the choir, and if I’m on a mission I shall stay in my room.
The odd technique of my prayer shall consist in in search of God inside myself, often starting with some stage of the Ardour of Our Lord, notably the Crucifixion. The good object of prayer being that of preserving the guts regularly occupied with the love of God, there’s not a greater approach of acquiring that finish than by recollection, silence, and detachment from creatures.
In chapter xviii. Leonard treats of the observance of poverty:
I shall don’t have anything for my very own specific use (he writes), besides the crucifix I put on on my breast, my little hand-bag, the case with my sermons in, my writings, my Breviary, my Rule, my hair-shirt, my little cross with sharp factors, my spectacles, my rosary, the 2 disciplines, the one I exploit on the group train and the one I exploit at my secret penances at night time, a bit holy image of the Immaculate Conception, the framed image of Saint Vincent Ferrer, with which I bless the sick: that is all I shall maintain for my very own specific use.
Leonard was certainly a mannequin of poverty. He was sparing in the whole lot he used, even the very paper on which he wrote. He used to horrify his companions by writing to cardinals and duchesses on half-sheets of notepaper, however he himself would by no means fear, and used to comment cheerfully: “They know Leonard is a poor man, in order that they gained’t hassle to stay at ceremony.”
Peace of coronary heart was one thing on which Leonard laid the best stress. We have now seen what he wrote to Father Peter, and his Resolutions on the topic are virtually similar. It was one thing he considered very important, understanding properly that emotions of bitterness, hostility, and discontent are a terrific impediment to good work for souls. Daily at midday he examined himself on it, and realizing that “all anxieties often spring from a need of humility,” humility was a advantage he made particular efforts to accumulate. In chapter 21 he writes:
I’ll lay down two sorts of humility, that of the understanding and that of the desire. The primary makes me see my nothingness, the second helps me to simply accept contempt. As to supernatural presents being incapable of a single good thought with no new precise grace I’m satisfied of absolutely the sterility of my poor coronary heart, which is incapable of any good with out the particular affect of grace. If I take a look at the quantity and the enormity of my sins, I see there a bottomless abyss; and what Saint Francis stated of himself with pious exaggeration, that he was the best sinner on the planet, I can say of myself with absolute fact. That I can’t, nevertheless, persuade myself of this with out nice labour and problem is exactly an evident signal, an incontestable proof, of my being the proudest of males, for, having continually earlier than me so apparent a reality, nothing however delight might blind me and hold me from seeing it. Nevertheless, to return to follow: I shall hold specific guard over my tongue, by no means talking of myself both for good or dangerous, by no means mentioning my sermons at Rome, nor the success of my missions, besides the place it might be essential to justify the doctrine contained in our directions and preaching. I ought to simply achieve all this if solely I might repress my ideas of vanity.
Purity of intention was one other matter to the significance of which Leonard was absolutely alive:
I shall look upon it as a matter of the best significance (he writes in chapter 15) to carry out all of the actions of the day, not solely with some good intention, however with a pure and easy one, in order that they could be meritorious earlier than God and agreeable to His Divine Majesty. I see that I need to pay the best consideration to this. Within the eyes of God a single act carried out with a pure and easy intention is of extra worth than 100 others executed from imperfect motives. . . . Consequently, I shall make each effort, by God’s grace, to do all my actions with this pure and easy intention, which consists in making an attempt to do every little thing to please God, with out some other motive in any respect. … Firstly of every motion I shall say, My Jesus, mercy, and in so doing 1 want to renew as soon as for all this easy and pure intention, trying to God alone, and never in search of, in what I do, anything besides His goodwill and pleasure.
Right here is one thing of what Leonard has to say on his nice life-work, the missions:
I shall give myself to this (he writes in chapter 22) completely ex toto corde, spending night time and day in that saintly employment, all the time occupied in listening to confessions, in giving recommendation, in establishing peace, in preaching, but desirous all through, not of following pure inclinations, however the motion of grace, renewing typically a pure and easy intention; and, although at one time I felt a sure distaste for mission-work, now that two Sovereign Pontiffs have assured me that such is the Will of God, and that Benedict XIV. has expressly laid such obligation upon me, I consecrate myself whole-heartedly to it, hoping that I search therein God slightly than myself. . . . To offer a very good instance to others, I shall prostrate myself earlier than going into the pulpit to evangelise, and with my face to the bottom, adoring the Majesty of God, I shall make an act of con trition for my sins and faults, and an act of diffidence in myself, being satisfied that compunction of coronary heart and the conversion of sinners is the work of the omnipotent arm of God and wholly the impact of grace. Subsequently I shall lay no retailer by my very own capability, business, or studying somewhat, filled with mistrust of my very own powers, I shall rise with an actual confidence in God, begging Him to deign to the touch all hearts and convert all sinners. Then I shall repeat a number of occasions, My Jesus, mercy.
It’s fascinating to notice that Leonard selected as one of many chief patrons of his missions the well-known Dominican preacher, Saint Vincent Ferrer. The final chapter of the Resolutions offers with what Leonard calls “the safeguard of all of them” viz., the apply of sustaining himself within the Presence of God.
I’m assured (he writes) that if I’ve God unceasingly earlier than my eyes I shall be trustworthy of their observance…. I shall derive from this Presence of God nice modesty in all my actions, phrases, and behavior, whether or not I be alone or in firm, on account of the sovereign respect I owe to God’s infinite Majesty. I shall by no means give solution to any levity or buffoonery. I shall protect all the time a grave and recollected angle. . . . Nevertheless, I shall use discretion with regard to occasions and individuals. Thus in recreation with my brethren, whether or not on a journey or within the backyard, or with my missionary colleagues, I shall be affable, cheerful, and homosexual. With others I shall keep a grave manner, and so as to maintain myself recollected, I shall keep away from so far as attainable the dissipation brought on by worldly dialog. Maintaining this rule, 1 shall protect myself in peace of coronary heart, and it’s on this, as I’ve stated above, I shall look at myself every day. To achieve this I need to take a decision, the final, although, on account of its significance, it should be the primary viz., to talk quietly and little, and by no means to do issues in a rush, however calmly and with nice exterior reserve.
Such, then, was Leonard: past query austere, reserved, silent; rejoicing, as he says himself (chapter 9), to steer a poor, spiritual, penitent life; strolling all the time within the presence of God, in order that at occasions it wanted fairly an effort to draw his consideration; and but, withal, by no means morose, by no means gloomy, however cheerful and homosexual. “Depart unhappiness to these on the earth,” he would say. “We who work for God must be light-hearted.”
In a lot he reminds us of Saint Bernard: he had no eye intentionally, not by means of lack of style for pure magnificence, passing by way of probably the most beautiful surroundings unmoved. How totally different from Saint Francis, for whom the loveliness of God s handiwork was a straight street to God Himself. Once more, his austerities, like these of the good Cistercian, appear to us virtually extremely extreme; but, as an alternative of leaving him as an austere life is usually apt to do on a chilly pinnacle of remoted superiority, we discover Leonard, like Bernard, to have been filled with sweetness in the direction of these with whom he lived or with whom he laboured, paying due consideration to such home particulars because the preparation of the meals, dispensations from fasting, and the availability of vital clothes. There’s an amusing postscript to considered one of his letters from Corsica, through which he reminds his correspondent of the promised provide of winter habits for himself and his companions. They have been to be made on the Convent at Genoa, “and if the spiritual there excuse themselves, saying they haven’t acquired the material, don’t consider a phrase of it; for, in the event that they need to present them, they will.”
NOTE ON LEONARD’S WRITINGS
Leonard was the writer of a number of devotional works, solely two of which, as far as I do know, have ever appeared in English viz., his Resolutions and The Hidden Treasure. Others are a quantity of Religious Workouts, the Sacred Guide, destined primarily for nuns; a number of brief treatises and directions e.g., Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, An Instruction for Confessor -s; and lastly, and principally, his Mission Sermons.
Although Leonard will ever reside within the work he did and the way of its doing, and within the instance relatively than within the writings he has left us nonetheless, the latter benefit excess of this passing discover, and it’s to be hoped that somebody might someday be discovered prepared and succesful to render them into English.
“Quaerite Dominum et confirmamini: quaerite faciem ejus semper.”
The erection of the Stations of the Cross within the Coliseum in December, 1750, was actually Leonard’s final nice work at Rome. In April, 1751, he ready to go north to provide a mission at Lucca. On the 14th of the month, the day earlier than he was to go away, he went to see the Pope, to say goodbye and get his blessing. Benedict XIV., who, as we now have stated, thought a substantial amount of Leonard and valued extremely his work, ordered him to journey in future in a carriage and no extra on foot, and advised him, furthermore, that he would search for his return to Rome in November. A number of days later the aged friar he was seventy-four years previous arrived at Florence, and was greeted by clergymen and other people with the wildest enthusiasm. It was a number of years since that they had final seen him, and his fame had been ever spreading. Crowds gathered spherical his carriage striving to kiss his hand, and even to make off with fragments of his behavior.
After spending some days in visiting, on the Archbishop’s request, a number of communities of nuns within the neighbourhood, Leonard withdrew to his convent, hoping to steal a couple of days peace earlier than the graduation of his mission. He quickly discovered, nevertheless, that his days have been virtually wholly occupied in attending to the crowds who have been always asking to see him. Peace and quiet being crucial, he needed to place himself out of their attain, and so fled away to that house he liked so dearly and with whose spirit he was so deeply imbued, the Solitude devoted to Mary, excessive within the hills, Incontro. It was his final go to. On the fifth of Might he left it for Lucca, by no means once more to return.
Leonard had hardly begun his mission earlier than he abruptly collapsed. He discovered himself completely incapable of any psychological software in any respect, and needed to cancel a number of of his sermons. Fortuitously, he turned robust sufficient, after a number of days, to evangelise once more, and the mission was resumed with all his previous hearth and power. It was a stupendous success. The good Cathedral of Saint Martin was crammed to overflowing, and it turned needed to evangelise within the open. It was Leonard’s final nice passionate outburst of passion for the salvation of souls, resembling had burned inside him all through the lengthy years of his missionary life.
From Lucca he handed on to a number of smaller locations within the neighbourhood, preaching each the place eloquently and with fruit. He then commenced a collection of missions within the mountainous nation round Bologna. Right here Leonard discovered himself confronted by a spirit of open hostility, a number of individuals of native significance turning his phrases into ridicule, and even going as far as to endeavour to maintain individuals from going to confession to him.
It’s seldom within the lifetime of Leonard that one has to chronicle an unsuccessful mission. These spherical Bologna, although removed from being failures, definitely didn’t obtain something like the standard outcomes. This will have been due in some measure to his personal failing powers and lack of focus; however twice earlier than, in the middle of his apostolic profession, a considerably comparable setback was skilled. As soon as, when preaching within the Sabine, the mission had been critically crippled by some public exhibits and video games, which, by an irony of destiny, have been being held concurrently within the open area fronting the missioner’s personal lodging. Nonetheless extra vexatious to the bizarre individual was what occurred on one other event, when Leonard and his companions have been politely however clearly given to know, earlier than the mission had even begun, that they might be conferring a pleasure all spherical in the event that they kindly withdrew altogether. Such unaccountable behaviour very naturally made his companions most indignant, however Leonard, quietly remarking that this was solely a becoming readjustment of the stability a lot earlier applause being undoubtedly dangerous for them began to go away instantly, and his colleagues might do nothing besides go together with him.
Leonard was accustomed to spend a lot time and labour over the composition of his sermons, not hesitating even, as he freely confessed, to borrow, and sometimes verbatim, from others; however throughout these final missions of his it was observed that he was much more occupied in rereading his Resolutions, written greater than thirty years again at Incontro, than in anything. On being ques tioned about this, he merely replied: “These Resolutions are what are crucial for me now.” In October he wrote to Monsignor Belmonte, one of many Pope’s chamberlains: “If it please God that I attain Rome, you’ll all, little question, be glad; however, if I do, I shall by no means depart it once more, for the previous ship is breaking apart and may’t maintain out for much longer.”
At first of November Leonard begins his journey Romewards, his final journey. He stays first at Ferrara, spending a number of days together with his previous pal the Cardinal Archbishop Crescenzi. From Ferrara he goes to Bologna, after which to Loreto, which he reaches on the 20th. The individuals end up to satisfy him, the Governor presents him lodgings within the palace; he thanks them, however prefers the Convent of the Brethren. Subsequent morning, after Mass, he presses on to Tolentino. He arrives at sundown, and lodges as soon as extra in poverty together with his personal, fairly than in luxurious with strangers. That night the friars all comment on his homosexual spirits. He leaves early, and makes for Ponte della Trave, the place, half lifeless with chilly, he celebrates Mass, breakfasts off dry bread, and presses on. At seven that night he’s at Casa della Nuova. Resting by the hearth, he’s overcome with a match of trembling. “You’ve acquired the fever, Father,” says his companion, Brother Diego. “I can’t say,” replies Leonard. He then finishes some Workplace, has a light-weight supper, and goes to mattress. He’s troubled with a racking cough, which retains him awake. At one he rouses the Brother and asks him to mild the hearth, as he can’t cease in mattress any longer. The hearth lit, he crouches by it. The Brother asks him how he feels. u Dangerous,” replies Leonard; and Diego augurs ailing of a reply which years of incessant toil, fatigue, and sometimes illness, had by no means but wrung from him. At dawn they transfer off in the direction of Foligno. Right here, regardless of his companion’s protestations, Leonard, although with the best problem, says Mass, for “a single Mass is value greater than all of the wealth of the world.” They relaxation at Foligno the rest of the day, and on the subsequent begin for Spoleto. The information loses his means, the carriage for Leonard should wants obey the Pope and never go on foot will get caught quick, and he has to get out and stroll via water and dirt until the carriage can provide you with him. He reaches the Convent of Spoleto in a dying situation, however should say his Workplace, which he does, two of the Brethren serving to him. They beg him to stay, however he excuses himself, saying the Pope needs him in Rome earlier than the month is out; and so leaves subsequent day for Civita Castellana. Early the next morn ing, the 26th of November, he begins on the final lap, his impatience to succeed in Rome growing as he nears the town. His power appears to revive, and he discourses at size with Brother Diego on religious issues. Then: “I do know I need to die quickly.” Diego hopes it is probably not so. “No; it’s fairly clear to me I m close to the top. How ever, I shall not stop to wish to God for you, Brother Diego, for I’ve all the time beloved you.”
The solar has simply set, after the briefest of winter days, when Leonard and Diego attain the Convent of Saint Bonaventure. With problem is the Saint lifted from the carnage and borne straightway to the Infirmary. His first thought is to inform the Pope that, in obedience to his needs, he has reached Rome. He asks for pen and paper that he might achieve this himself, however is restrained by his confessor, who assures him it’s being already accomplished. Hardly have they acquired him to mattress when he makes his Confession and asks for Holy Com munion. The Group assemble, and he receives the Viaticum, saying clearly the acts of Religion, Hope, and Charity. Later the physician arrives, and prescribes a fortifying scorching drink. Leonard receives it gratefully from the arms of the Infirmarian: “How can I ever thank God sufficient for permitting me thus to die within the midst of my Brethren!” At 9 o clock Mon- signor Belmonte arrives from the Pope, and spends a number of temporary moments with the dying Saint. On his departure Leonard asks to be alone, and all depart him, save the Infirmarian, who stays inside name, listening, with the door ajar, to his fervent acts of divine love and religious invocations to Mary. Just a little later he’s anointed, and earlier than midnight is nose to nose with God, dying with out ache or wrestle.
The physique was set out within the Infirmary, the place crowds from each class of society came around and venerate it. For the solemn Mass of Requiem it was transported to the choir, and eventually buried within the Chapel of Saint Francis, the place it stays to this present day.
Leonard was beatified by Pope Pius VI in 1796, and canonized by Pope Pius IX, 1867.
Sancte Leonards, ora professional nobis.