The prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, presided Sunday at the beatification of Spanish Capuchin Friar Leopold de Alpandeire, whose life Pope Benedict XVI called “a song of humility and trust in God.”
During his homily at the Beatification Mass in Granada, Archbishop Amato noted that the city is a “fortunate” one “because it has witnessed the glorious spectacle of (Blessed Leopold’s) holiness.”
The archbishop then recalled that people often “insulted and threw stones” at Friar Leopoldo, and “once he was almost hanged.” Nevertheless, “He got even the most anti-clerical to admit that they wished everyone was more like him.”
Friar Leopold, he said, “taught the way of justice through his charity, humility and Marian devotion, with the testimony of his life, which was for a long time dedicated to begging, including during times of religious persecution.”
Francisco Tomas was born a small town in the Spanish region of Malaga on June 24, 1864. As a boy he cared for a flock of sheep and tilled the soil. Years later, on November 16, 1899, he entered the Capuchin monastery in Seville, where he continued working in the monastery garden.
In the Fall of 1903 he was transferred to Granada and served as the gardener there. After being transferred to a few different monasteries, in 1914 he returned to Granada where he remained until his death As a beggar, he visited many towns in the Andalusia region. When he was asked a favor, he always asked the person to pray three Hail Marys in return.
He died on February 9, 1956. Even today, thousands visit his tomb each year to ask for his intercession.