Eucharistic Crusade

Saints who loved the Blessed Sacrament

Venerable Leo Dupont {1797 - 1876}

Feast day December 1

Leo Dupont was no ordinary man.  God was first in his life.  He was a man of prayer who had a wonderful devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  Leo was also a very wealthy gentleman who was generous with his money and not selfish and greedy like so many rich people are. 

Mme. Dupont came from a very noble and wealthy family.  She married a very wealthy man named Nicholas Dupont and their marriage was blessed with two sons; Leo born in 1797, and Theobald born in 1801.  But Mr. Dupont was not long for this world and he died in 1805, when his wife was only twenty two years old. 

Not one to despair, Mme. Dupont rolled up her sleeves and put her best foot forward.  She now had to put all her efforts into raising her boys, Leo aged eight and Theobald aged four.  She was a very devout Catholic and instilled into her children a great love for virtue and a strong Catholic Faith.

Leo went to the village school in Martinique, a French Colony where the Duponts lived.  He was a very honest and upright student.  One day when his teacher Mr. Rochelle left the classroom for a short period, the boys started shouting and laughing and whistling.  Mr. Rochelle heard the noise and returned asking who the rowdy boys were.  Leo Dupont was the only boy who stood up and confessed to his teacher that he was the guilty one but all the other boys were to ashamed to admit that they were also to blame.

When Leo finished his studies at the village school, his mother sent him to the United States.  The horrible French Revolution was raging and there was too much religious persecution going on in Paris.  Mme. Dupont wanted Leo to have the freedom to practice his Catholic Faith.  His stay in America was short, and two years later he returned to Pontlevoy, France to continue his studies.

In 1815, when Leo had finished his studies, he returned to Martinique to visit his mother.  She was now married to Mr. Arnaud, a wealthy land owner.  Leo was now twenty one years old.  He was a real gentleman, handsome and well mannered.  Mme. and Mr. Arnaud wanted to send Leo and Theobald to Paris, to continue their studies.  But before leaving, Leo's mother warned him, "Leo my son, you are heir to half a million dollars and it is a grave responsibility but also a great privilege.  You can use your fortune well, or you can use it wrongly.  Remember God gave you life and an immortal soul and He will exact from you a strict account on the day you die!"

The two boys arrived in Paris and rented an apartment from a well known friend.  Leo continued his studies in Law and Theobald continued his regular schooling.  Because Leo was so well mannered, his friends called him, "The Marquis of Politeness." 

In Paris, many people were living sinful lives and without the grace of God, Leo would have been swept downstream with them.  But God was watching over him and one day the young man received a very special grace.  Leo had hired a boy to look after his horse.  One day the boy arrived late saying that a man named Bordier had been teaching him Catechism lessons in a church basement.  Leo checked out the situation and found Bordier instructing many boys.  He became a good friend of Bordier and helped him to take care of the young boys.

When Leo finished his Law studies, he returned to Martinique, where he was appointed to the Royal Court.  He was now twenty four and continued his works of piety and charity, just as he had done in Paris.  His brother Theobald died and he was greatly saddened.

Soon after on May 29, 1827, Leo married a good Catholic girl named Caroline d'Andiffredi.  They bought a place in St. Pierre and finally after five years they had a little baby girl and named her Henrietta.  The happy couple were filled with joy but this joy did not last long.  In less than one year after the birth of Henrietta, Caroline died.  She had never been too strong and her death was a heavy cross for poor Leo.

Before long, Leo went back to France with his mother, now a widow again, and his little girl.  This time he settled in a house in Tours, on St. Etienne St.  He had promised his wife that that he would send Henrietta to the school run by the Ursulines Sisters in Tours. Leo was very humble and did not care what people thought of him when he practised his Catholic Faith openly.  He would serve Mass and take part in other religious events.  He went to Mass and Communion almost every day.  He loved to talk about the Catholic Faith and he encouraged Protestants, pagans and fallen away Catholics to believe in the Blessed Sacrament.

One day in 1837, Leo gazed upon a holy picture of St. Teresa of Avila and suddenly realized that it was necessary to do penance in his life, and not waste his time riding and hunting. So as a penance, in reparation for the sacrileges committed by the Masons and Revolutionaries, Leo would often visit and pray at the broken down churches, which had been destroyed or abused.  Later on he wrote a book on the various shrines of Our Lady, scattered throughout the world.  This book caused many people to go on pilgrimages again, as they had done many years ago. Leo joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Tours, and became one of their great apostles.  He gave this Society large sums of money, visited people and taught evening classes to workers and soldiers.  Leo also provided amusement for his pupils and worked in a great amount of religious instruction when teaching his pupils, bringing many back to the practise of their religion.

Blasphemy and using God's name in vain, was a terrible sin being committed at the time by hundreds of people and even little children.  Leo joined an association to stamp out blasphemy and handed out pamphlets that promoted this association.  He even wrote a Little Office of prayers in honour of the Holy Name of God.

When Our Lady appeared at La Salette in 1846, Leo became a firm believer in the apparition and went there on pilgrimage.  During this journey, he stopped in to see the famous Cure of Ars.  St. John Vianney was surrounded by crowds of people and had never met Leo, but as soon as he saw this holy man, he went up to him saying, "O my dear friend, how sweet it will be for us to find ourselves in Heaven, singing the praises of God!" 

Shortly after his pilgrimage to La Salette, Leo was given a very heavy cross.  His daughter became ill with a serious disease that had broken out in the school.  She was sent home and died a few days later.  Leo was broken hearted at the loss of his only daughter but he was grateful to God.  He had often prayed, "O God, if you see that Henrietta will stray from the right path, take her to Thyself rather than let her live."  After the girl's death, Leo lived only for God.

Wherever there was good to be done, Leo was there.  He considered it an honour to help the poor, the sick, the prisoners, and anyone who needed help.  Many times he would give away all the money he had in his wallet and he even gave away his own clothes.

In February 1849, night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was started in Tours as a result of the efforts of Leo Dupont.  In less than two months Leo had rounded up seventy four men to come and adore the Blessed Sacrament at night, and many of these came to adore after putting in a hard days work.  Leo also wrote to people in different places and when they decided to set up night adoration, he would go and help them out.

It was Leo's personal desire to see night adoration started everywhere.  He said, "When shall we see Our Lord honoured day and night in every parish through the Catholic world?  I love to cherish the hope!"

On one occasion, Leo had the honour of having three holy persons in his house at the same time: St. Peter Julian Eymard, Fr. Cohen, and Bishop de la Bouillerie, all great apostles of the Holy Eucharist.

St. Martin's Basilica in Tours was destroyed during the French Revolution.  It had been dedicated to the great St. Martin, who was once a Roman soldier. He had divided his cloak and gave one half of it to a poor beggar.  That same night, Our Lord wearing half the cloak that Martin had given away, appeared to him saying, "Martin, still a catechumen, has covered Me with this garment."  Right after this wonderful event he was baptized.  A few years later he left the army and in time became the Bishop of Tours.

Leo made great efforts to have the Basilica of St. Martin rebuilt.  He started a charitable society to help clothe the poor and encouraged others to help rebuild the basilica.  God blessed the work, and by the end of the 19th century, St. Martin's was completed, a jewel in Leo's heavenly crown!

Mr. Dupont also distributed thousands of St. Benedict medals, and as a sign of respect for the holy Word of God, he had a vigil light burning night and day before his Bible.  He also did this as an act of reparation for all the blasphemies committed against the Word of God.  

One day Leo learned about the Carmelite Nun, Sr. Mary of St. Peter who had visions of Jesus.  Our Lord told her to promote devotion to His Holy Face.  At one time Jesus said, "Think of the outrages inflicted on me by the Society of the Communists, the enemies of the Church and of Christ.  They have laid their hands upon the anointed of the Lord (priests).  But their evil plans are vain and they will fail!  I desire the establishment of the Work of Reparation!  For it is the Work of Reparation to the Holy Face that will hold back God's justice."

Always an apostle, Leo made great efforts to spread this devotion.  He burned a vigil lamp continuously before a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus (Veronica's Veil), and cured many people of their diseases by having them put this blessed oil on their skin.  Thousands of people made pilgrimages to his house and prayed before the picture of Veronica's Veil. 

Leo's mother lived with him for many years and died in 1860, when Leo was 62 years old.  From 1860 to 1870, he spent all his time before the image of Veronica's Veil; in prayer, in receiving the sick who came to be cured, and in writing letters.  During this time he continued to wear a hair shirt under his clothes.  He scourged himself almost every day, and sanctified himself by continual prayer and penance.

By 1873, Leo's health was failing.  His eyesight was poor and he was unable to leave his room for three years, owing to gout and rheumatism.  As his illness increased, he had to give up going to daily Mass and Communion. The Blessed Sacrament was brought to him once a week.  He continued to suffer right up until his death on March 18, 1876, at the age of 79.

We should all practise the virtues of Leo Dupont; his Faith, Hope, and Charity, his gentle and apostolic ways, his perseverance in good works, his love for Holy Communion and his devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  St. Pius X asked that a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus be placed in every Christian home. By this he meant that we should all have devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  Beg Venerable Leo to help you have devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and let us all pray that one day we can say,

St. Leo Dupont, Pray for Us.    

The End


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