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St. Giovanni Leonardi

St. Giovanni Leonardi

Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca
Occupations Catholic priest
Gender male
Birth Borgo a Mozzano
Death 9 October 1609 (Rome)
The details

Saint Giovanni Leonardi (1541 – 9 October 1609) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. He was born in the Republic of Lucca and was ordained as a priest in 1572. He first dedicated himself to the Christian formation of adolescents in his local Lucca parish. He assumed the name of "Giovanni of the Mother of God" as his religious name.
In 1574 he founded a group charged to deepen Christian faith and devotion; this foundation occurred as part of the movement known as the Counter-Reformation. Leonardi worked with this group to spread devotion to the Blessed Mother and devotion to the Forty Hours as well as spreading the message of the importance of frequent reception of the Eucharist.
This foundation received approval from Pope Paul V in 1614. Leonardi took his work to Rome where he became friends with Saint Philip Neri. Neri held him in high regard for his qualities of firmness and judgment and entrusted him to delicate works such as the reform of the Benedictine congregation of Montevergine. He then founded with J. Vivès the seminary of the Propagation of the Faith.
He died in 1609 dedicating himself to his brothers suffering from the influenza epidemic that was raging in Rome at the time.
The final Rule of his institute was published in 1851. Two houses of the Clerks of the Mother of God were opened when he died and three others were opened during the seventeenth century.
Leonardi was beatified in 1861 and canonized in 1938. His liturgical feast is celebrated on 9 October.

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