Daniel J. Leonard, O.S.A.

1859 – 1941 (July 25)

Daniel Joseph Leonard, son of John Leonard and Helen Walsh, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on December 8, 1859. He entered the novitiate at Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1880, and made profession of simple vows on December 8, 1881. He was solemnly professed on December 9, 1884, and following studies, was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Philadelphia on January 11, 1885, by Archbishop Patrick Ryan. His two younger brothers, John and James, also became friars in our Province.

Father Daniel was assigned as an assistant at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Atlantic City, New Jersey, in July, 1885 and remained there until June, 1889, when he was transferred to Saint Mary’s, Lawrence, and then shortly after to Chestnut Hill. In May, 1890, he was sent to Saint Mary’s, Waterford, N.Y., but two months later moved to Saint Joseph’s Parish, Greenwich. In 1892 he was sent to Saint John’s in Schaghticoke, and put in charge of the mission at Valley Falls in 1893. There followed brief assignments to Saint James, Carthage and Saint Mary’s, Lawrence. In 1902, he was appointed rector and pastor of Saint Patrick’s Parish, Cambridge, New York, a position he held until 1918 when he became prior at Saint Mary’s Parish, Lawrence. He later served, from 1922 to 1924, as prior at Villanova Monastery, but resigned in 1924. He then became prior and pastor at Saint Mary’s Parish, Waterford, New York, and in 1926, rector again at Saint Patrick’s in Cambridge.

His final assignment was to Saint Mary’s, Lawrence, where he died at 81 years of age on July 25, 1941, after a long illness. He had been a religious for 60 years and a priest for 56 years. Though older than his two friar-brothers, Father Daniel outlived them both. Following his Requiem Mass celebrated on July 28th at Saint Mary’s by Prior Provincial, John Sheehan, O.S.A., Father Daniel Leonard was buried in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Lawrence.

Father Leonard’s death marked the passing of the last of a family well known in Catholic musical circles over a long period of time. His brother, Thomas Leonard, had been organist for nearly fifty years at Saint Mary’s Church, Lawrence. His sister, Mother Mary Loyola, S.N.D., was head of the Music Department at Trinity College, Washington, D.C., for many years. While at Villanova, Father Leonard was organist and director of the College choir. He wrote original liturgical compositions which became highly popular. It was he who set to music the poem “O Virgin Mother, Lady of Good Counsel,” written by Philadelphia’s poet-laureate, Eleanor Donnelly.