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Saint of the Day for 4 February: St. Joseph of Leonessa

St. Joseph of Leonessa: Life and Work of the Capuchin Saint and Apostle of Charity


St. Joseph of Leonessa


Capuchin saint

Baptismal name

Eufranio Desideri


Jan. 8, 1556, Leonessa


Feb. 4, 1612, Amatrice


4 February


2004 edition


June 22, 1737, Rome, Pope Clement XII


June 29, 1746, Rome, Pope Benedict XIV



Lord, we thank you for the gift to the Church of the holiness of Joseph of Leonessa. In him you have raised up all the virtues proper to the Christian: ardent love for you, heroic charity toward the brethren, angelic purity, tireless apostolate, the pursuit of peace. You gave him to us that we might imitate him and favored him with graces that we might find help: this is what we ask of you O Lord. Today more than ever we need love, prayer, penance, peace; we need comfort in sorrow, help in need. Grant us your children what you yourself desire: we ask this of you trusting in the merits and intercession of St. Joseph of Leonessa. Amen.

Patron of



of the missions

Roman Martyrology

At Amatrice in Lazio, St. Joseph of Leonessa, a priest of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, who helped Christian prisoners in Constantinople and, after suffering severely for preaching the Gospel all the way to the Sultan’s palace, returned to his homeland and shone in his care for the poor.


The Saint and Mission

St. Joseph of Leonessa, a 16th-century Capuchin saint, is a figure who deeply embodies the sense of mission in Christianity. His life is an extraordinary example of dedication and service, highlighting how faith can be lived through concrete actions aimed at the good of others. St. Joseph’s mission was characterized by a tireless commitment to the poor, the marginalized and the suffering. He spent most of his time in the streets and hospitals, devoting every moment to caring for the needy. This was not superficial service, but a genuine sharing of the suffering of others, rooted in a deep sense of compassion and Christian love. A remarkable aspect of his mission was his ability to unite the spiritual with the practical aspect of service. St. Joseph did not just provide material assistance; he was also a spiritual guide for those he met. His ministry was a balance of prayer, preaching and charitable action, demonstrating that true Christian mission requires a holistic approach that takes into account both the physical and spiritual needs of people. Moreover, St. Joseph of Leonessa was known for his courage and steadfastness in defending the rights of the weakest against the social and political injustices of the time. His life is an example of how faith can inspire one to fight for justice and human dignity. St. Joseph of Leonessa represents the Christian mission lived with total dedication and unconditional love for others. His life is a reminder to live the faith actively and concretely, showing that true Christian service goes beyond words, becoming a visible and tangible imprint of love and hope in the world.

The Saint and Mercy

St. Joseph of Leonessa is an emblematic figure of mercy in the context of Catholic spirituality. His life, dedicated to the service of others, particularly the poorest and neediest, is a clear example of how mercy can be lived out concretely. St. Joseph’s mercy was manifested through his unceasing work on behalf of the less fortunate. He not only devoted himself to the physical care of the sick and marginalized, but also extended his compassion and spiritual guidance to those he encountered. This holistic approach to mercy demonstrates a deep understanding that true care includes both body and soul. In addition, St. Joseph of Leonessa embodied mercy through his commitment to combating social injustice. He did not hesitate to defend the rights of the weakest and speak out against injustice, showing that mercy also includes working for a more just and equitable world. His life is a powerful example that mercy is not simply a feeling of pity, but an active and deliberate action to alleviate suffering and promote human dignity. St. Joseph of Leonessa teaches us that mercy is a fundamental component of the Christian life, a commitment that goes beyond words and results in concrete actions of love and service. St. Joseph of Leonessa represents mercy as a living virtue, showing that through love, compassion and action, it is possible to make a significant difference in the lives of others. His legacy inspires us to practice mercy in all aspects of our lives, following his example of dedicated service and unconditional love.


A prisoner of the Turks in Constantinople, Brother Joseph had been hanging on a cross for three days by one foot and one hand. And he had not died. God only knows how he managed to survive that torment, and…


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