On November 6th, a great SAINT laid down his life in the Pauvin woodland of Noblac.

At the tail end of the 5th century, in a region of Gaul, San Leonardo was born into a prominent Frankish family.

Clovis's father was a relative of the Merovingian monarch, therefore Clovis was raised in the royal court and eventually rose through the ranks of the army.

His devout parents and extended relatives celebrated his birth and anticipated a bright future for him in the royal court.

It was decided to combine the names Leo (lion), emblem of Teutonic pride and power, with the name Nardus (Nardo), symbol of the mild fragrance inherent in the Christian spirit, as an allusion to the child's hopes and as a response to the historical moment of a powerful nation, converted to Christianity, likely with the advice of Saint Remigius and the approval of Clovis himself.

In Latin: "Nardus mea dedit odorem suavitasis." (Song 1,11)

To this we might add that the name Leo-Nardus was inspired by God himself as if to foreshadow the evangelistic potency of his apostolate and the mystical scent of Leonardo's virtues.

The magnificent Abbot of Noblac was the first saint at the court of the Merovingians, and a clever writer has based a motto on his name:

As Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Fortis ut leo, redolens ut nardus, tu, Leonardus, eris."

(You, Leonardo, were as ferocious as a lion and as perfumed as Nardo.)

Clovis brought Leonardo to the Baptismal Font where he was baptised by San Remigio (a follower of San Martino of Tours).

Perhaps because prisoners were the most destitute segment of suffering humanity, or maybe just because many innocent people were unfairly punished back then for no other reason than their hatred of the powerful or being weaker than the enemy in war, his lively charity shone brightest towards prisoners.

Then, following in the footsteps of St. Remigius, Leonardo petitioned King Clovis to release all the prisoners he had personally seen and found deserving of their freedom. Which he did.

Many captives were set free by him, the author of his "Life" writes, "in body but also from the chains of sin."

At the pool of Siloam, where the paralytic had been lying for 38 years, Jesus spoke to him,

"Behold, you are healed; do not sin any more so that nothing even worse may come to you" (John V. 14).

Since he saved the queen's life during delivery, Saint Leonard is also revered as the patron saint of expectant mothers and babies.

Saint Leonard travelled all across France, preaching the gospel and establishing churches until he settled in the woods of Noblac, near Pauvin. There, he erected a church that became a magnet for individuals seeking to join the Christian faith after having broken the material and spiritual shackles that had held them back.

On November 6 of 569, having attained sainthood, he passed away.

The majority of Saint Leonard's remains are kept at the chapel that bears his name in the Noblac woodland near Pauvin. The Canons Regular of Saint Augustine presided over the church for many years after the monks had placed the Saint.

The Abbey of San Leonardo in Lama Volara (now Siponto) was established by these monks.

Saint Leonard is shown in chains while holding a copy of the Bible:

I set you free from the bonds of mortal man, but it is the Lord's Word that sets you free from the bonds of sin.

The following may be found on the table held by the Saint in the baroque statue that was relocated from the Abbey of San Leonardo to the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Manfredonia:

To paraphrase, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mt. XI,28-30)
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