Today is the feast day of Saint Leonard of Limousin (Noblac) . Ora pro nobis.
O Almighty God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and bast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Leonard, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saint Leonard was born to noble and illustrious parents in Gaul (now France), in the castle of Vendome in Orleans. According to an extraordinary legend, Leonard belonged to a noble Frankish family of the time of King Clovis, and St. Remy of Reims was his godfather. After having secured from the king the release of a great number of prisoners, and refused episcopal honours which Clovis offered him, he entered a monastery at Micy near Orleans.
Later he went to Aquitaine and there preached the Gospel.
While he was still very young, the kingdom was threatened by an invading army. The Queen, knowing of Leonard’s Christian faith, jokingly suggested to Leonard that he invoke the help of his God to repel an invading repeal the attack. Leonard prayed, the tide of battle turned, and the armies of Gaul were victorious. Saint Remigius used this miracle to convert the King and thousands of followers to Christianity. He received as a gift from the king a domain at Noblac, near Limoges, where he founded a monastery.
From an early age, Leonard was destined for the service of the Lord. As he matured, he was so moved by the holy examples of Saint Remigius, Archbishop of Rheims that he renounced the world in order to lead a more perfect life. Looking to Saint Remigius for advice and spiritual guidance, Leonard quickly came to embrace and exemplify the greatest of Christian virtues, and while still a young man, took the tonsure (monk’s haircut) as a symbol to the world of his commitment to serving the Lord.
His first calling was in service to prisoners, who he showed great charity, and worked miracles of freedom. Previously, King Clovis, in response to a prayer of Saint Remi, had issued an edict that prisoners in Rheims might be freed whenever his royal highness would pass through that city. Leonard asked the kind monarch to grant him personally the right to liberate prisoners whom he would find worthy of it, any time at all. Based upon his exemplary life, prudence, and good judgment (despite a young age), the king naturally agreed.
The veneration of this saint is as widely known. It is true that there is no trace of it before the eleventh century, but from that time it spread everywhere, and little by little churches were dedicated to him, not only in France, but in all Western Europe, especially in England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, more particularly in Bavaria, and also in Bohemia, Poland, and other countries. Pilgrims, among them kings, princes, and high dignitaries of the Church, flocked to Noblac (now St. Leonard).
Numerous miracles are attributed to him, and in one small town alone, Inchenhofen, Bavaria, from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, there are records of about 4000 favours granted through his intercession. The saint wrought the delivery of captives, women in confinement, those possessed of an evil spirit, people and beasts afflicted with diseases. At the end of the eleventh century his name had already become renowned among the Crusaders captured by the Mussulmans. He is generally represented holding chains in his hands. His feast day is celebrated on 6 November.
PONCELET in Acta SS., November, III, 139-209; see also CHEVALIER, Bio-Bibl., s.v.
Image: Saint Leonard, St Peter’s Colonnade. Circa 1666. Statue created – c.1666 (4)
Research by REGINA Staff