The Catholic Defender: St. Leonard of Noblak
Prayer can turn the tide when threatened by terrible storms or man made calamity. A great example of this can be found coming from a certain French convert who became a hermit. He influenced a king to convert to the Catholic faith with him at Christmas 496. That is the best Christmas gift we can offer the King of kings, offering ourselves at Christmas.
Hermit-abbot, a convert of St. Remigius. He was a French courtier offered a bishopric, but became a recluse at Micy, France. He then lived at Limoges, France, and he was given land by the royal court on which he founded Noblac Abbey, later called Saint-Leonard. He is a patron of Women in labor and prisoners of war.
His intercession became highly sought in times of confusion and threat. The royal court held him as a Frank courtier. During the threat of an advacing army invading the land, the Queen implored Leonard to intercede before Jesus to repel the invading army.
He also held a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and as a result of his prayer, the tide of battle did turn. Saint Remigius, bishop of Rheims (leonard's God-Father) then used this miracle to convert the King, Leonard, and a thousand of thier followers to Christianity. Following his conversion, St. Leonard refused the offer of a See from his grandfather, King Clovis I.
He then began a life of austerity, sanctification, and preaching. His desire to know God grew so strong that he decided to enter the monastery at Orleans. His brother, Saint Lifiard, followed his example and, leaving the King's court, built a monastery at Meun, and lived there.
However, Leonard desired further seclusion, so he withdrew into the forest of Limousin, converting many on the way, and living on herbs, wild fruits, and spring water. He built himself an oratory, leaving it only for journeys to churches. Others, recognizing his holiness, begged to live with him, and a monastery was formed.
Leonard took to the forest of Limousin for solitude and prayer, but God had other things in mind for Leonard. Soon people came to him for council and he developed a following. Kings and queens and sevants sought his prayer and intercession. Through his prayers the queen of the Franks safely bore a male child.
He then began a life of austerity, sanctification, and preaching. His desire to know God grew so strong that he decided to enter the monastery at Orleans. Converting many on the way, and living on herbs, wild fruits, and spring water. He built himself an oratory, leaving it only for journeys to churches. Others, recognizing his holiness, begged to live with him, and a monastery was formed.
He was credited for the release of prisoners, aided women in labour and the diseases of cattle. Leonard had a great compassion for prisoners, and converted many and obtaining their release. It became known that prisoners who invoked him from their cells saw their chains break before their eyes.
Many came to him afterwards, bringing their heavy chains and irons to offer them in honor. A considerable number remained with him, and he often gave them part of his vast forest to clear and make ready for the labours of the fields, that they might have the means to live an honest life.
St Leonard like St. Paul had a very positive message to the jailers.
His brother, Saint Lifiard, followed his example and, leaving the King's court, built a monastery at Meun, and lived there.
He died of natural causes around 559. After his death, churches were dedicated to him in France, England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Bohemia, Poland and other countries. Pilgrims flocked to his tomb, and in one small town in Bavaria there are records of 4,000 favors granted through Saint Leonard's intercession.
Leonard or Lienard became one of the most venerated saints of the late Middle Ages. His intercession was credited with miracles for the release of prisoners, women in labour and the diseases of cattle.
"First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Between the porch and the altar let the priests weep,
let the ministers of the LORD weep and say:
“Spare your people, LORD! Do not let your heritage become a disgrace,
a byword among the nations! Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’” Joel 2:17