Rome, Italy, Dec 19, 2016 / 18:01 pm
St. Leopold Mandic may not be as recognizable as his Capuchin brother, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, but his life is a moving testament to perseverance and faith despite lifelong physical ailments.
St. Leopold was born Bogdan in 1866 in Dalmatia, Croatia and he was the youngest of 12 children. From an early age, Bogdan suffered from a severe stutter and strong adnominal pains. Chronic arthritis gave him a stooped frame and gnarled hands. But, what the future saint lacked in physical health, he made up for with spiritual strength.
At 16, Bogdan left Croatia for Italy, where he studied at the Capuchin Seraphic School at Udine. He entered the Capuchin order as a novice in 1884 at Bassano del Grappa and took the religious name Brother Leopold. He made his Profession of Vows one year later and was ordained a priest in Venice in 1890.
After his ordination, St. Leopold yearned to become a missionary in Eastern Europe. At the time, Eastern Europe was ravaged by religious conflict. But, St. Leopold's superiors denied his request to become a missionary because of his poor health.