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November 26

St Leonard of Port Maurice - glass

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

 Franciscan Priest, Preacher

(1676 – 1751)

“What graces, gifts and virtues the Holy Mass calls down!

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Paul  Jerome Casanova was born in Porto Maurizio, Liguria, Italy, on December 20, 1676 . He was the son of Domenico Casanova and Anna Maria Benza.  Throughout his early life, Paul Jerome thanked God for giving him such an excellent father.

Sent to College to be a Doctor

At the age of 13, Paul Jerome was sent to the Jesuit Roman College. His uncle Augustine, with whom he was living, wanted him to become a physician. Paul studied medicine, but when he refused his uncle’s wish that he become a doctor and announced he had other plans, Augustine disowned him.

Joined Franciscans Taking the Name Leonard

Paul Jerome joined the Franciscans of the Strict Observance at Ponticelli on October 2, 1697. He took the name Leonard, after a relative who had been kind to him. Leonard continued and completed his studies at the St. Bonaventura on the Palatine in Rome.  He was ordained there in 1703. For five years, Leonard had to stop preaching because he was spitting blood.

Poor Health

After his ordination, he remained there as lector (professor), and expected to be sent on the Chinese missions. After ordination, Leonard contracted a bleeding ulcer and was spitting blood. In 1704 to help his recovery, he was sent to his hometown of Porto Maurizio (Port Maurice) where there was a monastery of the Franciscan Observants.  When his healing continued to elude him even in the mild climate of Liguria, he vowed that he would devote him entire life to the conversion of sinners, if God would make him well again.

Recovered and Started Preaching

Leonard recovered and, in 1709, he went to the San Francesco del Monte monastery in Florence. From there, Leonard preached all over Tuscany and held his celebrated missions in Central and Southern Italy with tremendous effect for the next 44 years. He became guardian of San Francesco, founded a retreat for religious at nearby Incontro, where the friars retired twice a year to practice the eremitical life.

Missions around Rome

In 1730, Leonard was appoint guardian of Saint Bonaventure’s in Rome. He spent the next six years conducting missions around Rome, preaching to soldiers, sailors, convicts, and galley-slaves in addition to conducting parochial missions. Pope Benedict XIV appointed him to several complex diplomatic assignments. In Genoa and Corsica, in Lucca and Spoleto the citizens expected a bejeweled cardinal to represent the intentions of the pope. Instead, they were confronted by a humble, shoeless, muddy friar to confound their hostility and pride.

His contemporary, Saint Alphonsus Liguori, said Leonard was the finest missioner of his day. In 1736, he was released from this position to continue his evangelization in Umbria, Genoa, and the Marches of Ancona. His missions now attracted such huge crowds that they were often held in the open air.

Stations of the Cross Devotion

Leonard is primarily responsible for the popularity of the Stations of the Cross devotion, of which he was an ardent promoter (reputedly setting up almost six hundred Stations throughout Italy, even in the Colosseum in Rome), and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Conception.

His Writings

The Leonard’s numerous writings consisted of sermons, letters, ascetic treatises, and books of devotion for the use of the faithful and of priests, especially missionaries. 

  • The Diary (Diario) of his missions written by  friar Diego da Firenze
  • Via Sacra spianata ed illuminata ((the Way of the Cross simplified and explained)
  • Il Tesoro Nascosto (on the Holy Mass)
  • Collezione completa delle opere di B. Leonardo da Porto Maurizio (A complete edition of his works appeared first at Rome in thirteen octavo volumes (1853–84))

His Death

The strain of his missionary labors and his mortifications had completely exhausted his body. Leonard arrived on the evening of November 26, 1751, at his beloved monastery of St. Bonaventura on the Palatine. He died on the same night at eleven o’clock at the age of 74.

Born:                    December 20, 1676 in Porto Maurizio, Liguria, Italy

Died:                    November 26, 1751 age 74 in Rome, Italy

Beatified:            June 19, 1796 by Pope Pius VI

Canonized:         June 29, 1867 by Pope Puis IX

Feast Day:          November 26

Patron Saint:     Imperia, Italy; Parish Missions; Preachers



Now, how can we miserable creatures, who depend on God for the very air we breathe, be able to repay Him for debts so numerous and so weighty? Let me at once, therefore, show you the easiest way of doing so; and let me add that this way of satisfying Divine Justice is one that must console me and you and the world. Let us take care to attend with all possible devotion as many Masses as we can; and let us strive to have them celebrated frequently for our intention; and thus were our debts as countless as the sands on the seashore, and as weighty as they can be, there is not the least doubt but that we shall be able to discharge them all fully and adequately, by the treasury we can draw from the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Source: Hidden Treasures of Holy Mass, by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice at

Are you able to go to Mass more than just on Sunday? Daily? Pray to God for those in the world where conflict does not allow them to go to Mass and be thankful for the blessing of the Mass.


Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, just as you thought you wanted to be a missionary in China, God had other plans for you. Instead, you became missionary in your native land of Italy setting up over 600 Stations of the Cross that many Italians still enjoy today. You conducted parish missions and heard confessions extending your stays while constantly preaching to sailors, soldiers, convicts, slaves and sinners working for their conversions. Remember that God may also have other plans for you and I.  May Saint Leonard intercede for us in our journey to eternal salvation through local works of charity while proclaiming the gospel through our example of our daily life.

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – 5 reasons Mass didn’t bore the saints

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 27 November – St Leonard of Port Maurice OFM (1676-1751)

Angelus News – Saint of the Day: Leonard of Port Maurice

Catholic Culture – Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

Catholic Exchange – Ten Ways to Live Out the Prayer of Mass

Catholic Ireland – Nov 26 – St Leonard of Porto Maurizio (1676-1751) Franciscan

Catholic News Agency – St. Leonard of Port Maurice Feast Day: Nov 26

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

Independent Catholic News – Saint Leonard of Port Maurice

Loyola Press – St Leonard of Port Maurice

New Advent – Bihl, M. (1910). St. Leonard of Port Maurice. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Video Link

St. Leonard of Port Maurice – YouTube (Franciscan Media)