Saint Joseph of Leonessa (1556-1612)

for February 4

Saint Joseph was born in Leonessa, Italy, and felt called to religious life. He joined the Capuchins in his home town, and began living a life of simplicity and penance. He went without large meals and accommodating living quarters, and began preparing for ordination. Joseph felt called to bring his ministry to Constantinople to care for Christian galley slaves toiling under Turkish masters. He was incarcerated, and warned not to continue his ministry upon discharge. However, Joseph did continue, and was condemned to death. He was miraculously freed from prison while awaiting his death sentence and returned to Italy, where he ministered to the poor and reunited quarreling families and cities. He continued his ministry until he passed away from complications related to cancer. Saint Joseph of Leonessa was canonized in 1746, and is the patron saint of Leonessa, Italy.

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Saint Joseph of Leonessa understood the importance of simplicity in life. He went without large meals and a nice home. Do you have the courage to give up some of your excess material goods and live a simpler life, bringing yourself closer to God? Which do you make more of a priority in your life: your kind and loving heavenly Father, or your material "gods."


Living Spirit of God, give me the courage to get rid of things that distract me from what is really important in life. Help me to focus on building the Reign of God. (Taken from “Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens.”)