Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. Leopold of Babenberg, Margrave of Austria

Here is the story of St. Leopold of Babenberg (1075-1136), patron saint of Austria, and of three Belgian kings. To quote:
A man of strong convictions, Leopold's stand in the investiture controversies made him the preferred candidate among the Bavarians for the position of Holy Roman Emperor in 1125.  However Leopold refused the nomination and the glory of the empire, in favor of governing Austria. Through wise governance and faith in God, he succeeded in securing the blessings of peace and justice for his people.  He was a much loved ruler, faithful husband and generous father.
"The mild margrave" died during a hunting accident in 1136 and was buried in the church of the Augustinian canonry, the Nativity of Our Lady, where he was genuinely mourned by his people.  For nearly 900 years St. Leopold has been honored and venerated in his native Austria.  His feast day, November 15th, is still one of the most important celebrations at Stift Klosterneuburg and the annual pilgrimage, held on the Sunday preceding the feast day, still draws thousands.
In Belgium, November 15, the feast day of St. Leopold (and St. Albert) is celebrated as the "King's Holiday."

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