- Giovanni Leonardi
Worked as a pharmacist‘s apprentice while studying for the priesthood. After ordination on 22 December 1572, he worked with prisoners and the sick. His example attracted some young laymen to assist him, most of whom became priests themselves. This group formed Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, a congregation of diocesan priests which, for reasons having to do with the politics of the Reformation and an unfounded accusation that John wanted to form the group for his own personal aggrandizement, provoked great opposition. The Clerks were confirmed on 13 October 1595 by Pope Clement VIII, but John was exiled from Lucca for most of the rest of his life. John was assisted in his exile by Saint Philip Neri, who gave him his quarters – and his pet cat!
In 1579 he formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century. He died from a disease caught while tending plague victims. By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks have never had more than 15 churches, and today form only a very small congregation. The arms of the order are azure, Our Lady Assumed into Heaven; and its badge and seal the monogram of the Mother of God in Greek characters.