Leopold Mandić

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St. Leopold Mandić, O.F.M. Cap.
Sveti Leopold Bogdan Mandic Rijeka.jpg
Religious and priest
BornBogdan Ivan Mandić
(1866-05-12)12 May 1866
Herceg Novi, Kingdom of Dalmatia, Habsburg Monarchy
Died30 July 1942(1942-07-30) (aged 76)
Padua, Kingdom of Italy
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
(Capuchin Friars, Croatia & Diocese of Padua)
Beatified2 May 1976, Vatican City, by Pope Paul VI
Canonized16 October 1983, Vatican City, by Pope John Paul II
Major shrineShrine of St. Leopold Mandić [it], Padua, Italy
Feast12 May (30 July in Roman martyrology)
PatronageCancer sufferers[1]
Church of St. Leopold Mandic in Herceg Novi

St. Leopold Mandić, O.F.M. Cap. (also known as Leopold of Castelnuovo), (12 May 1866 – 30 July 1942), was a Croatian Capuchin friar and Catholic priest,[2] who suffered from disabilities that would plague his speech and stature. He developed tremendous spiritual strength in spite of his disabilities and became extremely popular in his ministry as a confessor, often spending 12–15 hours in the confessional.[3]

Although Mandić wanted to be a missionary in Eastern Europe, he spent almost all his adult life in Italy, living in Padua from 1906 until his death. He also spent one year in an Italian prison during World War I, since he would not renounce his Croatian nationality.[2] He also dreamed unceasingly about reuniting the Catholic and Orthodox churches and going to the Orient. He became known as an Apostle of Confession and an Apostle of Unity. He made a famous prayer that is the forerunner of today's ecumenism.[citation needed]


Early life[edit]

He was born Bogdan Ivan Mandić in the coastal town of Herceg Novi (Italian: Castelnuovo), on the Bay of Kotor, then in Habsburg Monarchy but today part of Montenegro. He was the twelfth child of Dragica Zarević and Petar Antun Mandić, owner of an Adriatic fishing fleet, natives of Zakučac (in the hinterland of the city of Omiš, 28 km from Split).

Mandić grew up in the orbit of a community of Capuchin friars based in the Province of Venice who had served in his town for two centuries, dating from when the area was ruled by the Republic of Venice. Physically malformed and delicate, he grew to a height of only 1.35 m (4'5"), with a clumsy walk and afflicted by stuttering. Having felt called to follow that way of life, in November 1882, when he was 16, he went to Udine to enter the minor seminary of the Capuchin Venetian Province. Two years later he was admitted to the friars' novitiate in Bassano del Grappa, where he was clothed in the Capuchin habit and given the religious name of Leopold of Castelnuovo. On 3 May 1885, he made his first profession of religious vows, after which he was sent to pursue his studies for Holy Orders in Capuchin friaries in Padua and Venice. He made his profession of perpetual vows in 1888.


On 20 September 1890, Mandić was ordained to the priesthood at the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice at the age of 24 by Cardinal Domenico Agostini, Patriarch of Venice.

After his ordination, Mandić was sent to posts in various Capuchin friaries in the Venice region and in his native Croatia. Among his various tasks were the teaching of the seminarians who followed him, as well as the household duties of the house, such as porter. Common to all his assignments was that of the duty of a confessor at the church which the friars served. This went on until 1906, when he was assigned to the Friary of Santa Croce in Padua. It was there that he would spend the rest of his life.


Mandić suffered from esophagus cancer, which would ultimately lead to his death at age 76. On 30 July 1942, while preparing for Mass, he collapsed on the floor. He was then brought to his cell, where he was given the last rites. Friars who had gathered at his bed began singing the Salve Regina and saw that Leopold died as they sang "O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary".


As a result of the bombing during World War II, the church and part of the friary where Mandić lived were demolished, but his cell and confessional were left unharmed. He had predicted this before his death, saying, "The church and the friary will be hit by the bombs, but not this little cell. Here God exercised so much mercy for people, it must remain as a monument to God's goodness." Pope Paul VI beatified Leopold on 2 May 1976. He was canonized by John Paul II during the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on 16 October 1983. Leopold is hailed as the "Apostle of Unity".

Jubilee Year[edit]

At the personal request of Pope Francis, Mandić's remains were brought to Rome for veneration during the 2015–2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. He and his fellow Capuchin friar, Pio of Pietrelcina, were designated as saint-confessors to inspire people to become reconciled to the Church and to God, by the confession of their sins.[4] Their bodies were available for veneration, first at the Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls, administered by the Capuchin friars, then at St. Peter's Basilica.[5]


  • "Some say that I am too good. But if you come and kneel before me, isn't this a sufficient proof that you want to have God's pardon? God's mercy is beyond all expectation."
  • "Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I will take care of it." He once explained, "I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself."
  • "A priest must die from apostolic hard work; there is no other death worthy of a priest."
  • "Faith! Have Faith! God is both doctor and medicine."[6]
  • "I wonder at every moment how a person may risk the salvation of their soul for reasons absolutely futile and weak."[6]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b "Veliki svetac i rodoljub, Bogdan Leopold Mandić". hkv.hr (in Croatian). 23 August 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2013. Tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata proveo je godinu dana u talijanskom zatvoru ne želeći poreći svoju hrvatsku nacionalnost.
  3. ^ "St. Leopold Mandic". American Catholic. Archived from the original on 2005-04-22.
  4. ^ "Two great confessors chosen for the Jubilee of Mercy: Saint Pio and Saint Leopold". Rome Reports. 29 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Roma se prepara para recibir los restos del Padre Pío en ocasión del Jubileo". Aciprensa (in Spanish). 4 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b Convento Cappuccini, 35100 Padova, Italy

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