St Leonard of Noblac
St Leonard of Noblac was born in the 6th Century AD. He lived a monastic life of simplicity but became known for healing and many travelled to visit him and receive divine doctrine.
He was also known for many miracles, including delivering of the Queen’s child when her life was despaired of, and he was afforded the power to release prisoners, at his own discretion. They reported that their shackles fell from them in his presence. Prisoners offered their fallen chains to him in homage, and many had a deep desire to remain with St Leonard. He gave them work, to support them as they led a new life of honesty.
He taught his disciples that the captivity of sin was greater than any physical internment – and preached strong doctrine that each would live honest and productive lives. He was a pioneer in addressing social issues that many would turn away from, understanding that confronting barriers was the only way in which true transformation could be achieved.
He performed many miracles of healing – delivering people from the shackles of illness and physical deficiency; he cast out demons and delivered emotional freedom; he encouraged work and productivity to free the people from poverty and social deprivation.
The ministry of St Leonard was inspired by the Holy Spirit and fulfilled the commands of Matthew 25. He stood for strong doctrine of the Christian faith and was a powerful teacher and communicator.
The Wroxall Connection
500 years after the time of St Leonard, Hugh De Hatton, son of Richard, Lord Hatton, fought in the Crusades.
He was captured and imprisoned in Jerusalem – shackled to a wall for 7 years. He prayed for his liberation and St Leonard appeared to him in a dream.
The following morning, legend tells, he awoke in the woods of Wroxall, in Warwickshire, close to his family home. An estate worker found him and alerted Hugh’s wife. His wife did not believe that the bearded, long-haired, unkempt creature before her was her husband – until Hugh produced half a ring that the couple had broken seven years earlier, each keeping half as a symbol of their love.
She now recognised her husband and there was much celebration at his miraculous return.
But Hugh did not forget his liberation – and gave 3000 acres of land to form Wroxall Priory, a Benedictine Order dedicated to St Leonard, to the glory of our Lord. The stained glass at Wroxall beautifully depicts the story…and continues with the story of Alice Craft, a novice nun, who received an angelic visitation, instructing that a Lady Chapel be built to the side of the Abbey.
Alice had no influence and no money, but the visitations became more persistent until finally Alice was able to convince the Prioress to order construction to commence. An apparition of snow marked the spot where the Lady Chapel was to be built and each week, the money to pay the workmen miraculously materialised. 500 years later, during the Reformation, the Abbey was destroyed, leaving only the Lady Chapel intact. The Lady Chapel is now known as Wren’s Cathedral, the Seat of the Bishop of Wroxall Abbey, Dr David Carr and spiritual home of the Order of St Leonard.
This private estate also has a hotel and extensive, peaceful grounds…perfect for retreats and reflection. For more information on this beautiful and historic place, please visit www.wrenscathedral.org