John Leonardi

(c. 1542—1609)

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founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. Born at Lucca, he became an apothecary and then studied to become a priest. He was ordained c.1572 and founded a confraternity for teaching Christian doctrine. In 1574 he founded his congregation of diocesan priests living under vows and dedicated to the much-needed reform of clerical life. He was appointed by Clement VIII to reform the monks of Vallombrosa and Monte Vergine in 1595 and shared in the foundation of the Roman College called Propaganda. His congregation remained small by deliberate choice; it is almost unknown outside Italy. He died through nursing the plague-stricken on 9 October. He was canonized in 1938. Feast: 9 October.

Propylaeum, p. 446; B.L.S., x. 52–3.

Subjects: Christianity.

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