The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Blessed Leopold von Gaiche

Blessed Leopold of GaicheAt Spoleto on 2 April 1815, there died another great son of Saint Francis, the Blessed Leopold von Gaiche, O.F.M. Gaiche was born in the archdiocese of Perugia, where he spent his pious youth. It was a hard sacrifice for his parents when the excellent young man left them at the age of eighteen to!.ead a life of perfection in the Franciscan Order. In this same year died the great Franciscan missionary, Saint Leonard of Port Maurice. The novice Leopold resolved to walk in the footsteps of this man. He kept his resolve.

After his ordination, he had to teach philosophy and theology for some years. This experience was afterward of service to him in his preaching. He traveled as a missionary through the whole of Umbria, his appearance and his eloquence making a very deep impression. In keeping with the subjects of his sermons he often wore a crown of thorns, or bore a cross, or lashed himself with a scourge.

He aroused the greatest enthusiasm by the first communion of the children, which he always placed at the end of the mission.

When the French Revolution drove all Franciscans from their cloisters, Father Leopold, who was then provincial, exhorted all to confidence in God and to perseverance. Because he would not take the oath demanded by the government he was often obliged to flee. But this did not frighten him and he went on with his mission work undismayed. Later he succeeded in gathering his dispersed brethren into a monastery near Spoleto. When death approached, the aged man desired to be placed on the floor, that he might die like his holy father, Saint Francis. Leo XIII ranked Leopold von Gaiche among the blessed in 1893.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916