Saint Leonard of Port Maurice
He was born on December 20, 1676 in Port-Maurice, in Liguria. After joining the “Roman College” in Rome, run by Franciscans, he took the habit of this order on October 2, 1697 and continued his studies at the Saint Bonaventure Institute. Following a serious illness, he was sent back to Port-Maurice where the climate seemed more favorable to his recovery. When his health permitted, he began to preach in and around Port-Maurice.
Saint Leonard was sent to found several monasteries. Leading a life filled with austerity and penance, he was a tireless missionary.
Having a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary, he intensified and codified the practice of the Stations of the Cross, while he transmitted to the faithful the practice of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He was eager to see this important concept of faith erected into dogma. He made himself the ardent apostle of the Three Ave Marias in his missions, through Italy and Corsica, and in his writings. He saw in it a very effective means of ensuring the salvation of souls.
He died on November 26, 1751, at the Saint Bonaventure monastery he had just joined to respond to the call of Pope Benedict XIV. He is proclaimed by Pius XI "patron of the missions preached in Christian countries".
Saint Léonard de Port-Maurice and the Three Ave
He wrote: “Recite every day, evening and morning, the three Hail Marys, in honor of her Immaculate Conception. Offer him your senses and the powers of your soul, as a good which belongs to him, and make the act of contrition with a firm intention, in the morning, not to sin during the day, and in the evening, not to succumb. overnight. "
In support of these statements, he cited striking examples, including the following: "You derive from this practice a marvelous advantage, as experienced by this young man slave of bad habits, on whom it had been imposed as penance by his confessor, a Father of the Society of Jesus ”. This young man, after several years, was completely freed from the grip of his vice.
Another miracle of the Three Ave was a captain whose life was a source of scandal. The same favor was granted to him: a complete and almost miraculous conversion, thanks to his fidelity to the triple angelic greeting, morning and evening, with the act of contrition and the firm intention to no longer sin.
The "great missionary of the 18th century", as Saint Alphonsus de Liguori called him, still preached: "Morning and evening, on your knees, deeply bowed, you will recite three Hail Marys.
Maria, in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Holy Virgin, then you will make an act of thanks to God for all the blessings with which he has bestowed you, finally an act of contrition for all the evil done to God by so many of sins you have committed ”(Sermons).