John B. Leonard, O.S.A.

1867 – 1939 (March 8)

John Bernard Leonard, son of John Leonard and Ellen Walsh, was born on July 20, 1867, in Lawrence Massachusetts, and baptized on July 21st in the Church of Saint Mary there. In 1886, he entered the novitiate at Villanova, Pa., where his two brothers, Augustine and Daniel, had preceded him into the Order. On October 4, 1887, he professed simple vows, and on May 23, 1891, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, Pa.

Shortly after his ordination to the priesthood, Father Leonard taught Latin and Greek at Villanova College, then served in the parish of Saint John the Baptist, Schaghticoke, N. Y., and was a member of the Mission Band. He was stationed at Saint Mary’s Parish, Lawrence, for sixteen years, during which time he served the parishioners of Saint Monica Parish, Methuen. His last assignment was to the parish of Saint Augustine, Andover, Mass.

Father Leonard died in Lowell, Mass. on March 8, 1939. Prior Provincial, Father John T. Sheehan, O.S.A., celebrated the Requiem Mass at Saint Augustine Church, Andover, and Father Thomas B. Austin, O.S.A., pastor, preached. Father Austin summarized the life of Father Leonard saying, “He was a professed, a priest, a professor, a preacher, a pastor, a prior. Above all else he was a good religious and a good priest.” 

A second Mass was celebrated in Saint Mary’s Church, Lawrence, by a cousin of Father Leonard, Father Daniel Hughes of New York. Father Leonard’s surviving brother, Father Daniel J. Leonard, O.S.A., joined the hundreds of priests who were present for the ceremonies. In his eulogy, Father Daniel J. O’Mahoney, O.S.A., who worked with Father Leonard on the Mission Band, indicated, “I recall the pleasant memory of being assigned on some of these missions, and I can say truthfully that he made an ideal missionary….I asked one of his brethren in the Order what he thought was Father Leonard’s predominant virtue and his prompt answer was, ‘Kindness.'” 

Father Leonard was buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Lawrence. He was 72 years of age.