Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Leopold Mandic (1866–1942)

Saint Leopold Mandic (1866–1942)

Patron saint of those suffering from cancer

Feast day: July 28

Saint Leopold Mandic, a Capuchin Franciscan, was born in Croatia in 1866. He was a man of unusually small stature and suffered from numerous disabilities: arthritis, which often made it difficult for him to walk; speech impediments, which inhibited his ability to deliver sermons; and stomach and vision problems.

Although by many outward standards a powerless and ineffective man, Saint Leopold developed exceptional virtue and became widely known for his wisdom and unparalleled spiritual advice. Leaders from all over the world sought him as a confessor. He often spent up to 15 hours straight in the confessional.

Despite living nearly all of his life in Padua, Saint Leopold hoped to someday become a missionary but this was never made possible. He prayed fervently and incessantly for the unification of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches and influenced later developments in ecumenism. He died from esophageal cancer in 1942, having correctly predicted that, although the church and friary where he lived would be severely bombed during WWII, his cell and confessional would be preserved.

Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Leopold Mandic in 1983.

(Image by Roberta F., Wikimedia Commons)