Pope Blesses Statue of Pharmacists’ Patron

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI blessed today in the Vatican a statue of St. John Leonardi, the patron of pharmacists.

The statue, 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) tall and weighing 27 tons, was placed in an outside lateral niche of St. Peter’s Basilica. It is the work of the Italian artist Paolo Cavallo.

John Leonardi (1541-1609) founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1938. The saint was proclaimed the patron of pharmacists in 2006 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

John Leonardi was himself a pharmacist. In helping the poor in his native city of Lucca, he discovered his priestly vocation. The congregation he founded is dedicated to catechizing the youth and the apostolic renovation of the clergy. He became one of the protagonists of the Counter Reformation.

John Leondardi collaborated in the foundation of what would later become Rome’s Urban College for the Propagation of the Faith, a center for the formation of missionary seminarians that is still important today.



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