FRANCESCO LEONORIS (Priest)
San Leonardo Verona 24.1.2004
AGE: Anni 91
On January 24, 2004, just a little before 3:00 a.m., Fr. Francis Leonoris concluded his earthly journey. He would have celebrated his 92nd birthday on next May 31st. He was born in Milan, in 1912, of Achille and Emma [Franzini]. A few days later, he received the Sacrament of Baptism, on June 9, 1912.
He entered the Community at Sezano on September 2, 1926. He was guided by exceptional Stigmatine Formators, such as Fr. Emilio Recchia and Fr. Godfrey Friedmann, under whom Fr. Leonoris followed through on the various states of his religious formation, from Novitiate [in 1930] to his Perpetual Profession, September 9, 1934. In Rome, he frequented the courses of Philosophy and theology at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas ‘in the City’, the ANGELICUM. And he was ordained a priest on July 18, 1937.
Due to his sublime intellectual qualities, he was dedicated especially to the ministry of teaching, as professor of literature and philosophy, at our School at the ‘Stimmate’ from 1939 until 1968, except for a brief period in which Fr. Francis concentrated on study in order to pass the university examinations. In this time, he also offered his service as one of the Provincial Councillors. After this, he served as a teacher at our ‘Bertoni’ College in Udine in two distinct periods of time: from 1968 until 1970, and then again from 1976 until 1980. the 6 year interruption in teaching in this period of his life [1970-1976] is due to the fact that Fr. Francis was called by the General Chapter of 1970 to serve as Vicar General of the Congregation. When this mandate ended Fr. Leonoris returned to Udine among the students, where he remained until 1980.
He was a man of extraordinary insight and profound understanding, nor did the acceptance of his own limitations escape him, as he came to realize that teaching school was no longer possible for him. As a result of this, he desired to renew his religious and priestly life by dedicating himself to the ministry of assisting the sick at St. Raphael’s Hospital in Milano. Therefore, he was transferred to Milano – and first became a member of the community at St Leo’s. then, later, after St. Leo’s Parish was closed, he made up a part of the Community of Holy Cross Parish. For about ten years, he assisted many persons as they approached their definitive encounter with the Lord. And he also assisted many other sick persons, be drawing close to them with his intelligent listening and comfort that he brought to them.
In time, he suffered from partial paralysis and from a variety of illnesses. And so he withdrew to the Community to St. Leonard's in Verona, bearing witness to all of his serene acceptance of his own physical limitations. When he came to realize that his own final call was drawing near to him, Fr. Francis prepared himself for his meeting with God through prayer and his view fixed on Jesus Christ.
Being accompanied by the prayer of the community, which many times had gathered around his door and assisted him in prayer as he received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, Fr. Francis was called to share in the Eternal Pasch during the night between Friday and Saturday, on January 24th.
May the Lord accompany him to the banquet of the Festiccal of the Friends of God.