St Leonard's, East Kilbride
a parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Motherwell
 
OUR PATRON SAINT
 

St Leonard
 
Leonard was born towards the end of the fifth century near the town of Orleans, France. He was the son of a Frankish nobleman, a high-ranking officer in the army of the king, Clovis I. At fourteen years of age, Leonard went to the monastery of Micy in Orleans and, on completion of his studies, entered Holy Orders, eventually succeeding Saint Remy at Rheims.
 
Leonard's holiness attracted sick people to him. It is recorded that they obtained their recovery and spiritual enlightenment. The king heard of this and asked Leonard to become chaplain to his court. However, Leonard's zeal for saving souls made him refuse this tempting offer. Preferring solitude, he chose to retire in isolation to the region of Aquitaine. Finally, reaching the forest of Pauvin just north of the town of Limoges, he built himself a cell and lived on vegetables and fruit. At first, he devoted himself to prayer and contemplation but, as a man of compassionate disposition, he later befriended prisoners and captives of war.
 
In this account of Leonard's life, it is also reported that Theodebert, King of Austria and grandson of Clovis I, while hunting with his couriers in the area, became distraught when his pregnant young wife, Queen Wisigarde, who was accompanying him, went into premature labour and was having serious difficulties. The royal doctor despaired of her life. Leonard arrived at her side and fell to prayer on her behalf. Through his prayers of intercession, the Queen recovered and gave birth to a healthy child. The king's gratitude was expressed by offering Leonard the estate of Pauvin, where he was joined by young men wishing to share his monastic life and form a community. In succeeding times, a flourishing monastery was built on this estate in honour of Our Lady of the Forest.
 
Clovis I
 
Leonard changed the name of Pauvin to Noblat in the King's honour. It was from here that he carried out his work of evangelisation, preaching the Gospel across the whole region. As reports of his characteristic holiness and miracles spread, sick people were brought to him and many went back home cured. Clovis I promised to release every prisoner Leonard converted. Many of those released in this way joined his ever-growing community. Leonard's pastorate continued to grow until his death on 6 November, 559 A.D.
 
Saint Leonard's fame spread as details of his life and miracle-working became known. Richard The Lionheart made pilgrimage to his shrine, and churches, monasteries, hospitals and hermitages were dedicated to him in France, Italy, England, Scotland and, not least, in Bavaria. Noblat is identified as the town of Saint Leonard de Noblat. The church at Noblat became a great pilgrimage shrine and the Saint was invoked both by women in labour and by prisoners of war.
 
Nowadays, relics of Saint Leonard are placed above the main altar in the church of Saint Leonard de Noblat, at the place where his hermitage once stood. The parish church of L'Hay-les-Roses (five miles south of Paris) is dedicated to Saint Leonard and owns two relics of the Saint.
         
     
The church of Saint Leonard de Noblat (left) and the parish church of L'Hay-les-Roses
 
The Feast Day of Saint Leonard is celebrated on 6 November.