“It is related that some were miraculously delivered from their chains by his prayers, and that the king, out of respect for his eminent sanctity, granted him a special privilege of sometimes setting prisoners at liberty; which about that time was frequently allowed to certain holy bishops and others. But the saint’s chief aim and endeavours in this charitable employment were to bring malefactors and all persons who fell under this affliction to a true sense of the enormity of their sins, and to a sincere spirit of compunction and penance, and a perfect reformation of their lives.”
Butler’s Lives of the Saints
Saint Sebastian, Saint Leonard and Saint Catherine – anonymous fifteenth-century painting
I missed this yesterday. St Leonard of Noblac, a Frankish nobleman, is the patron saint of political prisoners, imprisoned people, prisoners of war, and captives, women in labour, as well as horses. According to legend, having through his prayers ensured a safe delivery for the wife of King Clovis, he was rewarded with all the land around which he could ride on a donkey. On this land he built a monastery, where he lived as a hermit and which acted as the base for his evangelisation.
The church of Saint Léonard in the town of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat has been listed as a World Heritage Site as one of the pilgrimage sites on the road to Compostela.
St Leonard was widely venerated in England, as well as across other countries in Europe. The town of St Leonards-on-Sea was founded in his memory, as were as many as 177 churches in England. Interestingly, in St Leonard’s Hospital in Shoreditch, in East London, there is a plaque to the memory of Edith Cavell, executed in World War One for assisting wounded Allied soldiers. Does everything go around…