Timothy Leonard (priest)

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Fr. Timothy Leonard was an Irish priest from Ballysimon, County Limerick. He went as part of the first group of priests from the Maynooth Mission to China in 1920 and he was killed by Communists in July 1929. [1] He was the first Columban Father to be killed on mission. Timothy was born in July 1893 to William a Farmer and his wife Maryanne Leonard, in the parish of Killmurray, Killronan, Ballysimon, County Limerick. He attended Monaleen National School and later as a boarder at St Munchin's College in Limerick. [2] Fr. Leonard studied in Maynooth College and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Limerick in 1918. [3] In 1928, the Holy See assigned the Columbans a new district in the Province of Jiangxi previously ministered by the Vincentians, Fr. Tim was one of the Columbans who moved to Jiangxi.[ citation needed ]

Two of his brothers Joseph and William also became priests. [2]


In July 1929 after a raid by Communists who had targeted him, as he said mass, he was badly wounded and put 'on trial' before three of the Communists in their twenties who acted as Judges, he was found guilty of being hostile to the people of China, friendly with the Nationalists, and being a foreign spy, he was taken out thrown on the ground and hacked to death, [4] his body was found on 18 July.

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  1. Campaign to canonise Timothy Leonard www.limerickcity.ie
  2. 1 2 Famous people from Monaleen - Fr Timothy Leonard
  3. Columbans who died violently on missions Far East Magazine, December 2016.
  4. The Red Lacquered Gate by William E. Barrett