The style with which saint Leonard Murialdo lived his educational ministry among poor youth was inspired by values of Christian pedagogy, but also by suggestions of the world in which he lived.
His pedagogy sinks its roots in the qualities of his heart and mind, but it is also nourished by his deep inner experience.
For this his spirituality (the discovery of the personal and merciful love of God) nourishes not only his prayer and his priestly and religious life, but also permeates his educational style, enlightens objectives and clarifies methods of his activity among youth. In him spirituality and pedagogy are interrelated and enrich each other.
God loves us
The joyful discovery of the mercy of God after the adolescent crisis at Savona was the center around which revolves later his interior experience and his whole existence. Many years afterwards in the spiritual Testament, he will recall his “conversion”: “in 1843 on my return from the school of Savona, a real prodigal son, guilty of thousand of sins, I went to confession: – Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you-. Then you opened to my prayer your paternal heart, heard this prayer, and you regained possession of a soul destined to be your temple, but for a long time was only a dwelling of devils. Oh! How your infinite mercy became tangible to me then!” (spiritual Testament, p. 145)
Abandonment to the providence of God
The experience of the mercy of God became the central nucleus of his spirituality. Aware of being continuously loved in an infinite, tender, and especially merciful way, Leonard Murialdo committed himself with all his strength to respond to the “infinite” love of God with an “infinite” love, that is, with his whole self. It is this spiritual tension that accompanied him for his whole life and became concrete in trustful abandonment to the Providence of the Father, in docility to divine will, in an intense prayer, penitence
and industrious charity.
The will of God
The conviction that God is personal, tender, infinite and above all merciful love for each of us led saint Leonard Murialdo to the certainty, not only of mind but also of heart, that the will of God is a true good for man: therefore his will must be sought, welcomed, lovingly carried out by me. Consequently he accepted all the roads that God pointed out to him with love and joy, even though they were not according to his desires: the task of the director of the Artigianelli Boarding School, with its financial and internal difficulties, the foundation of the Congregation of Saint Joseph, the openings of new activities and new houses, family deaths and the sicknesses that undermined his health.
Humility and charity as Saint Joseph
The model of Saint Joseph and of the Holy Family was the inspiration of saint Leonard Murialdo in his abandonment to Providence, characterized by an active and at the same time obedient search to respond lovingly to the love of God through apostolate among poor youth, prayer, spirit of penance and mortification, humility of a hidden life.
Mary, mediatrix and mother of mercy
The second wish, entrusted by saint Leonard to his Congregation was that of spreading the devotion to Mary,
mediatrix of grace.
The motherly function of Mary shows the efficacy of salvation that Jesus obtained for us on the cross. The devotion of saint Leonard Murialdo to the Blessed Lady must be interpreted in the light of Spiritual Testament: Mary is mediatrix of grace because she is “mother of mercy.” (Writings, VI, p. 241, p. 200)
The two wishes that saint Leonard Murialdo bequeath to his children are connected among them through the perspective of mercy: God is merciful and the Virgin intercedes because she is merciful. (Writings, IV, p. 31)
The last ones
The receivers of the educational work of saint Leonard Murialdo are boys, young people of popular classes, especially those “poor, orphan or abandoned or also only rascals.” “Poor and abandoned: behold the two requirements that make a youth one of ours, the more one is poor and abandoned, the more is one of ours.” (Writings, V, p. 6)
The goals of the educational formation are those of a moral, civil and religious formation. We must work so that the youth may become “honest citizens, industrious and able workers, sincere and virtuous Christians.” (Writings, X, p. 119). The religious goal (or as they use to say then, is the “salvation of souls.”) found moreover a strong emphasis in saint Leonard Murialdo, summarized in a motto dear to him, ne perdantur, that they may not get lost. (Letters, V, 12156 and 2187). His method and style were of staying among youth “becoming to each of them a friend, a brother, a father”
A loved one who loves
Saint Leonard, loved by God, welcomed the poorest. Discover it in this booklet written by Fr. Vittorio Garuti.
Music: gift of God
They said about him
“This man meek, gentle and saint”
“Extraordinariness of a man who defends man”
“New works according to the signs of times”
“Saint Leonard Murialdo became friend, brother, father of poor youth”
“International publication gives a profile of Saint Leonard and of his ministry as educator of people” …