Leonardi, John, St.

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Founder of the clerks regular of the mother of god; b. Diecimo, near Lucca, 1541?; d. Rome, Oct. 9, 1609. Leonardi, who came from a working-class family, was apprenticed to a druggist. After his ordination c. 1572, he immediately began to train lay leaders and catechists, and in 1579 he formed the confraternity of christian doctrine. He published a compendium of Christian doctrine (Lucca 1574) that remained in use until the nineteenth century. In 1574 Leonardi founded his religious congregation, which received episcopal approval in 1583, papal approbation in 1595, and became an order proper, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, in 1621. Leonardi inaugurated four additional religious orders, reformed several others, was cofounder in 1603 of a seminary for foreign missions, and fulfilled several important missions. He himself died after nursing his brethren through an influenza epidemic. John Leonardi was beatified in 1861 and canonized in 1938. His relics are enshrined at Santa Maria in Campirelli, Rome.

Feast: Oct. 9.

Bibliography: S. Giovanni Leonardi, Fondatore dei Chierici Regolari della Madre di Dio, ed. Members of the Ordine della Madre di Dio (Rome 1938). f. ferraironi, Tre Secoli di storia dell'Ordine della Madre di Dio (Rome 1939). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, 4 v., rev. ed. (New York 1956) 4:65.

[m. p. trauth]

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Leonardi, John, St.

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