Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
The saint who is inscribed on the calendar for today is St. Leopold Mandic, a Capuchin Franciscan who died in 1942. Just a scant forty years later, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II. He had been ordained a priest despite the fact that he suffered several debilitating disabilities. His voice was rather weak, making it impossible for him to preach. He was afflicted with severe arthritis, had poor eyesight, and some sort of stomach ailment. While some might say that he achieved greatness despite his frailty, those of us who suffer similar difficulties would disagree and posit that he achieved greatness because he responded to the grace of his vocation to unite himself to the suffering of Jesus.
Because he was not as physically robust as many his age, Father Mandic distinguished himself as a confessor, sometimes spending as many as fifteen hours in one day in the confessional. He was also intent on doing everything he could to heal the breach between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Catholic Churches. He also taught future Capuchin priests having excelled himself in the field of patrology, the study of the Church Fathers.
In so many different ways, Fr. Leopold Mandic stands as a wonderful example for all CUSANS. When he was canonized in 1982, his brother Franciscans marveled at the fact that his frailty did not stand in the way of his living out the vows he professed to live according to the Rule of St. Francis which exhorts his followers to work without extinguishing the spirit of prayer and devotion which is intrinsic to the religious life.