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The Catholic Defender: St. Leonard of Port Maurice


I believe that were it not for the Holy Mass, as of this moment the world would be in the abyss.



If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion a good many times each day, within a month you will see yourself completely changed.


Avoid sloth, bad company, dangerous conversations, and games; remembering that time passes and never returns, that you have a soul, and that if you lose your soul, you lose all.


Franciscan proponent of the Blessed Sacrament,


Leonard was born in 1676 at Port Maurice, a seaport near Genoa, the son of Dominic Casanova, a ship captain.


Dominic raised his children with so much care that three of his sons entered the Franciscan Order, and his only daughter took the veil.


When Leonard was thirteen years old, he went to Rome to enter the renowned Roman college where St Aloysius once pursued his studies.


Franciscan proponent of the devotion of the Sacred Heart,


There he so distinguished himself by piety, diligence, and good works that he was called another Aloysius. After completing his college studies he thought of entering the medical profession.


But he soon perceived that God was calling him to another state of life. He happened to visit the church connected with the Franciscan convent of St Bonaventure in Rome when the choir intoned the verse at Compline, “Converte nos Deus, salutaris noster! – Convert us, O God, our salvation!” The young man was strangely impressed by these words and took them as a call from heaven to enter the order and devote himself to God’s service.


Franciscan proponent of the Immaculate Conception.


On October 2, 1697, his request for the holy habit was granted, and eventually he became the glory of the friary of St Bonaventure. His exact observance of the rule was admirable; likewise his fervor at prayer, his burning love of Jesus and Mary, his rigorous penance, his humility, and his tireless charity toward his neighbor.


Ordained in 1703, he began preaching all over the Tuscany region of Italy. By 1736 he was attracting huge crowds in Rome and elsewhere, and he erected almost six hundred Stations of the Cross throughout the lands.


By 1736 he was attracting huge crowds in Rome and elsewhere, and he erected almost six hundred Stations of the Cross throughout the lands.


In 1744, Leonard was sent by Pope Benedict XIV to preach on Corsica, returning to Rome in 1751 after receiving a summons from the pope.


It was his ardent desire to preach the Gospel to the pagans in China and to shed his blood for the Faith. But his delicate constitution for a while even prevented him from preaching. Consumption seemed to have claimed him as a victim; but, at the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, he was miraculously restored to health.


Leonard died at his friary, St. Bonaventure, on November 26. He was canonized in 1867 and named patron of parish missions.

"Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well. As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved."


Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and confirming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned.


Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's reasons have persuaded us. They are worth listening to. With eloquence and clarity, they develop a consideration of Father Lombardi in his public debate with Italian Communist leader Velio Spano in Cagliara on December 4, 1948. "I am horror-struck at the thought that if you continue in this manner, you will be condemned to hell," said Father Lombardi to the Marxist Spano. Spano replied, "I do not believe in hell." And Father Lombardi retorted, "Precisely, and if you continue, you will be condemned; for to avoid being condemned, one must believe in hell."


We could generalize Father Lombardi's answer. Perhaps it is precisely such a lack of supernatural faith that is preventing people from arriving at a deep appreciation of the pastoral transcendence of preaching in the manner of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice in its application to our contemporary life. At any rate, it is not because morals are any better now than in the famous missionary's day. No occasion could be finer for us to apply this reproach of Cardinal Pie: "I see prudence everywhere; soon we will not see courage anywhere; rest assured, if we continue in this manner, we will die from an attack of wisdom." Not divine wisdom, surely; for only carnal and worldly prudence give rise to vain knowledge, which mocks at the sermon of Saint Leonard.

Edityors Note: As I read from the Sermon given by Saint Leonard I've been saying essentially the same thing. In the United States, there are millions of fallen away Catholics who no longer practice their Catholic Faith, I've heard it said 1 in every 10 Americans are classified as fallen away Catholics. St. John the Apostle calls Fallen Catholics "Anti-Christs" (1 John 2:18-20), St. Pauls calls them among other things,"Traitors" (2 Timothy 3:4), Jesus refers to them among other things, "faithless" warning "their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8) there is so much more such as (Galatians 1:6-9). Is it any wonder that Saint Leonard gives this sermon? What can we do about it as Catholic Apologists. The call to follow Christ and be faithful to the Catholic Faith. To miss Mass because of our fault is a serious Mortal Sin. It is a Mortal sin before they left and it is still a Mortal Sin after they left. This will not be remedied through following counterfiets, false teachers. This is a major reason for the Sacrament of Confession to bring home the Prodigals. Praying the Rosary will offset the anger of God. Continue reading down and I place the 15 Promises the Virgin Mary and Our Lord grants praying the Rosay.


The doctrine of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice has saved and will save countless souls till the end of time. Here is what the Church says in the prayer of the Divine Office, Sixth Lesson, speaking of Saint Leonard's heavenly eloquence: Upon hearing him, even hearts of iron and brass were powerfully inclined to penance, by reason of the astonishing effectiveness of the sermon and the preacher's burning zeal. And in the liturgical prayer we ask of the Lord, Give the power to bend the hearts of hardened sinners by the works of preaching.


Saint Anselm declares, "There are few who are saved." Saint Augustine states even more clearly, "Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned." The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: "Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence."


Saint Chrysostom exclaiming with tears in his eyes, "I do not believe that many priests are saved; I believe the contrary, that the number of those who are damned is greater."


While he was preparing his sermon, a horrible demon appeared to him and said, "Lay your books aside. If you want to give a sermon that will be useful to these princes and prelates, content yourself with telling them on our part, 'We the princes of darkness thank you, princes, prelates, and pastors of souls, that due to your negligence, the greater number of the faithful are damned; also, we are saving a reward for you for this favor, when you shall be with us in Hell.'"


The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell."


One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, "When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned."


The doctrine of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice has saved and will save countless souls till the end of time. Here is what the Church says in the prayer of the Divine Office, Sixth Lesson, speaking of Saint Leonard's heavenly eloquence: Upon hearing him, even hearts of iron and brass were powerfully inclined to penance, by reason of the astonishing effectiveness of the sermon and the preacher's burning zeal. And in the liturgical prayer we ask of the Lord, Give the power to bend the hearts of hardened sinners by the works of preaching.



This sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was preached during the reign of Pope Benedict XIV, who so loved the great missionary.


The benefits of what Pope St. John Paul II called “an exquisitely contemplative prayer” were enumerated in a special way by a 15th century Dominican friar. According to the tradition, Alanus de Rupe received the following 15 promises to those who pray the Rosary devoutly from the Blessed Virgin Mary herself through a private revelation. We hope that they encourage you in meditating on the mysteries of Christ by praying the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


1. Those who faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

4. The recitation of the Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish. It will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God. It will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.

6. Those who recite my Rosary devoutly, applying themselves to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. In His justice, God will not chastise them; nor shall they perish by an unprovided death, i.e., be unprepared for heaven. Sinners shall convert. The just shall persevere in grace and become worthy of eternal life.

7. Those who have a true devotion to the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who faithfully recite the Rosary shall have, during their life and at their death, the light of God and the plenitude of His graces. At the moment of death, they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.

10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

11. By the recitation of the Rosary you shall obtain all that you ask of me.

12. Those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of their death.

14. All who recite the Rosary are my beloved children and the brothers and sisters of my only Son, Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion for my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.


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