Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Joseph of Leonessa (1556–1612)

Saint Joseph of Leonessa (1556–1612)

Patron saint of Leonessa, Italy and of a happy death

Feast day: February 4

Saint Joseph was born in Leonessa, Italy, and felt called to religious life. He joined the Capuchins in his hometown and began living a life of simplicity and penance. He went without large meals and comfortable living quarters and began preparing for ordination.

Joseph felt called to bring his ministry to Constantinople to care for Christian galley slaves toiling under Turkish masters. He was incarcerated and, upon discharge, warned not to continue his ministry. However, Joseph did continue and was condemned to death. He was miraculously freed from prison while awaiting his death sentence and returned to Italy, where he ministered to the poor and reunited quarreling families and cities. He continued his ministry until he passed away from complications related to cancer.

Saint Joseph of Leonessa was canonized in 1746. 

(Image by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)