FEAST OF ST. LEONARD, HERMIT AND CONFESSOR. Died about the year 559.
ST. LEONARD was son to a Frankish nobleman and Godson to King Clovis. Preferring a life of devotion to the career of a courtier he, after some experience in a monastery, retired to a forest not far from Limoges, and there subsisted on herbs and fruits.
In this forest a king, perhaps Theodebert of Austrasia, whose territory included the Limousin, sometimes followed the chase. On one such occasion he was accompanied by his queen, who then and there gave birth to a healthy baby, but not before the royal husband's anxiety had been awakened: St. Leonard, however, arriving opportunely, all went well with mother and child. In gratitude to St. Leonard the king made him a grant of land, whereon our saint raised a monastery, naming it Noblac, in honor of so noble a gift, and ruling its inmates until he died.
St. Leonard is accounted the Patron of Prisoners, Clovis (it is said) having empowered him to release every prisoner he visited. If so, we may associate with his memory the Divine words spoken through Isaiah:--"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? . . . to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?"