On this Tuesday 12 May 2021, we celebrate the feast of St Leopold Mandić OFM Cap. (+1942). Who was this great and humble saint whose relics, together with those of St Pio, Pope Francis wanted in the Vatican Basilica for some days during the Jubilee of God’s Mercy?
Leopold was born into a Croatian Catholic family, precisely in Castelnuovo di Cattaro (the today’s Herceg-Novi in Montenegro), on May 1866. He was the youngest of sixteen children who were born to Petar Mandić and Dragica Zarević, and at Baptism was given the names Bogdan Ivan (Deodatus John – or ‘John, Given by God’).
His paternal great-grandfather, Nicholas Mandić, was originally from Poljica, in the archdiocese of Split, to where his ancestors had come from Bosnia, way back in the 15th century. In those days the Capuchins, thanks to the Province of Venice, were present in the Province of Dalmatia, which at that time was part of the Austrian Empire, since 1688 under the government of the Republic of Venice.