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St. Denis,martyr and companions, martyrs; St. John Leonardi,

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Easter-won

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feast day October 9
Optional Memorial of St. Denis, bishop and martyr and companions, martyrs; St. John Leonardi, priest
Old Calendar: St. John Leonardi, confessor; Saints Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius, martys
St. John Leonardi (1543-1609), a zealous Italian apostle, founded the congregation of the Mother of God, whose priest-members traveled throughout Tuscany urging the people to a stronger interest in their religion. Fr. John Leonardi longed to convert pagans, but his spiritual director, St. Philip Neri, told him to remain in Italy. So instead he founded a seminary in Rome to train young men for the priesthood from all the mission lands.

St. Denis, a third-century apostle of Gaul, and now one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers" became first bishop of Paris. He suffered martyrdom there, together with his priest Rusticus and his deacon Eleutherius.

These feasts are celebrated today both in the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

St. John Leonardi
St. John Leonardi was born in Tuscany, Italy in 1541, during the time of upheaval in the Church due to Martin Luther. He studied to be a pharmacist, then became a priest. As a young priest he devoted himself to teaching catechism to youths. In 1574, he founded the Order of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, a congregation of diocesan priests. He suffered many tribulations for this work, including exile. His contemporary, St. Philip Neri, was a great friend and spiritual guide, and helped him particularly in his time of exile.
Gradually his influence as a champion of the Catholic faith against Protestantism became known throughout Italy. He later founded in Rome what became the Institute De Propaganda Fide (Society for the Propagation of the Faith) and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the promotion of the Catholic Faith and the formation of missionaries. St. John Leonardi died at Rome, in 1609, the victim of his devoted care for the sick and plague-stricken.

Symbols: book (to symbolize rules of Congregation he founded); the coat of arms of the order is azure (blue), Our Lady Assumed into Heaven; and its badge and seal the monogram of the Mother of God in Greek characters.

Things to Do:

St. John promoted the teaching of the Catholic faith. We should study our faith, perhaps by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church a little each day.
Try to understand more deeply the historical context during St. John's life — he was fighting the effects of the Lutheran Reformation of the Church. Could we refute the teachings of Luther?
St. Denis
St. Denis was born in Italy. In 250 he was sent to France with six other missionary bishops by Pope Fabian. Denis became the first bishop of Paris. He was beheaded in 258 with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius at Catulliacum, now Saint-Denis. One of the many legends about his torture and death was that his body carried his severed head some distance from his execution site. St. Denis is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers who were invoked particularly in the Middle Ages against the Black Plague. See August 8 for more information.
Patron: against frenzy; against strife; headaches; against diabolical possession; France; Paris, France.

Symbols: beheaded bishop carrying his head — sometimes a vine growing over his neck; mitered head in his hand or on book; white chasuble; tree or stake; sword; Our Lord with chalice and host.

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