|My little statue of St Leopold Mandic|
On this day in 1866 Leopold Bogdan Mandic was born in Croatia. A few years ago, while on pilgrimage, I had the privilege of visiting the Sanctuary of St Leopold in Padua, Italy. He is a little saint of the confessional. For nearly forty years, despite poor health, for twelve hours a day, he absolved and counselled thousands of penitents, he was weak but always available.
During a World War II bombing raid, the church and part of the friary where Leopold lived were destroyed, but Leopold's cell and confessional were left unharmed. Leopold had predicted this before his death, saying, "The church and the friary will be hit by the bombs, but not this little cell. Here God exercised so much mercy for people, it must remain as a monument to God's goodness.
When accused of leniency in assigning penances, Leopold would respond, "If the Lord wants to accuse me of showing too much leniency toward sinners, I'll tell him that it was he who gave me this example, and I haven't even died for the salvation of souls as he did." Leopold would often remark, "Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I will take care of it." He once explained, "I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself." At nighttime, he would spend hours in prayer, explaining: "I must do penance for my penitents."
Here are some of my photos from the pilgrimage.
|Confessional of St Leoplod Mandic|
|Hand of St Leopold Mandic|
|Tomb of St Leopold Mandic|
O God, source of life and love, you gave Saint Leopold a tremendous compassion for sinners and a desire for church unity. Through his prayers, grant that we may acknowledge our need of forgiveness, show love to others, and strive to bring about a living unity among Christians. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.