St. Leonard Murialdo - Our Founder of the Fathers of St. Joseph
Our roots are in Italy, our branches in four continents. Here in the US we are present in two parishes and one retreat house.We always emphasize the youth in our many ministries.
Born in Turin on October 26, 1828 into a loving, welcoming family, Leonard lost his father when he was five. Delicate of health, he was sent by his mother Theresa to the boarding school of the Scolopian Fathers of Savona on the Italian Riviera. While there, Leonard suffered a serious and painful spiritual crisis that marked him for the rest of his life.
To survive he asked to return home, where he continued his schooling, experienced God’s merciful love, and soon decided to study for the diocesan seminary. He was ordained in 1851, joining future saints among the clergy of Turin (John Bosco, Giuseppe Cafasso, Benedetto Cottolengo, etc.). After working for a few years in Turin’s youth centers, including one of those founded by John Bosco, in 1866 he was asked to become the rector of the Artigianelli (Little Artisans), a vocational boarding school for underprivileged and orphan youths. It is at the Artigianelli that, together with Frs. Reffo and Costantino, he founded the Congregation of St. Joseph in 1873. During the next 27 years he shepherded the Artigianelli and the new religious foundation, slow in developing.
Fr. Leonard died on March 30, 1900. He was beatified in 1963 and declared a saint on May 3, 1970.