Leo was born in the 19th century. From childhood he was very devout and thought that God was possibly calling him to become a priest. He was unable to gain admittance to the seminary however because of a physical defect on his hand. Instead, he studied law. He became a very good and honest lawyer, always remaining true to his Faith. He married and had one daughter. After the early death of his wife, he moved to Tours, France. Leo’s heart was pierced with sorrow when he saw the unhappy condition to which the French villages had been reduced on account of the atheism of the French Revolution. He entreated Our Lord to show him how to repair these outrages. He began by becoming more fervent in his own faith, praying more and practicing mortification. He also became a defender of the Holy Name of God, seeking to instruct people about what they were really doing when they used the name of the Lord in vain.
Leo agreed wholeheartedly that the work of Reparation should be begun. Following further revelations of Our Lord to the humble Carmelite, Leo became actively involved and asked the Bishop of Tours to print the prayers that Our Lord had dictated in order to propagate the devotion; but he was refused. However, Our Lord continued to make known to Sr. Mary of St. Peter His wishes in regard to this work, telling her that the sensible object of this devotion would be His Holy Face since it is the mirror and expression of the Divinity. Following these revelations, Leo and the Prioress and a few other friends compiled an Abridgment of Facts, which contained Sr. Mary of St. Peter’s revelations, and submitted it to the Archbishop. His Excellency agreed to allow 50 copies to be distributed, which Leo promptly did. Unfortunately, the pamphlet angered some of the politicians, who complained to the Diocese, whereupon the Archbishop commanded the Carmel and Leo to maintain complete silence on the work.
After the death of Sr. Mary of St. Peter in 1848, to the surprise of Leo, the Archbishop of Tours placed an interdict on her writings. No one was allowed to write or speak about the revelations she had received. Our Lord’s words to the humble nun had indeed come true: “I shall permit the demon to cross My Work, thereby to test the confidence of my servants.”
In January, 1849, His Holiness Pope Pius IX, ordered that public prayers be offered in all the Churches of Rome to ask for God’s mercy upon the pontifical states. This order was given in Gaeta where the Holy Father had been forced to flee, because of revolutions. The Relic of Veronica’s Veil was exposed for public veneration. On the third day, “through another veil of silk which covers the true relic of Veronica’s Veil, and absolutely prevents the features from being distinguished, the Divine Face appeared distinctly, as if living, and was illumined by a soft light; the features assumed a death-like hue, and the eyes, deep-sunken, wore an expression of great pain.” Copies of the True Image were made and distributed. Some were given to the Prioress of the Benedictines at Arras. She, knowing of the revelations to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, sent a few copies of the Image to the Carmel of Tours. Upon receiving them, the Prioress immediately sent two of them to Leo Dupont. His reaction was one of hope that the Devotion to the Holy Face as given to Sr. Mary of St. Peter would be able to spread. The picture was a very striking one, for in looking at the picture, we can get a true idea what our sins and malice cost the Divine Redeemer. But even more than this, one realizes that it is not the spittle and the bruises that made His agony so fierce. This picture shows the shame and the confusion He endured at being so inhumanly insulted. Here is revealed the Savior’s mental agony. Indeed, one is irresistibly drawn to love and console Our Sweet Savior when we contemplate His Face. For He sought for one to comfort Him and not one could He find.
Leo hung the Image in His parlor and lit a lamp in front of it because it was Holy Week. Little did he know that the Image would show forth its miraculous character time and again and that his humble lamp would burn continuously to the end of his days.
Only a couple of days after Leo had hung up the Image a client came to see him. Leo asked her to wait a few minutes while he finished some other business and noticed that she was frequently rubbing her eyes. She told him that they caused her great pain and didn’t know how to lessen it. He suggested that she should pray before the Holy Face and ask Our Lord to help her, after Leo finished his previous business, he then joined her in prayer. He also suggested that she anoint her eyes with oil from the lamp. “The oil has no curative powers,” he said. “The anointing simply expresses exterior faith, and is an act of piety.” When the young woman anointed her eyes she was instantaneously cured. Thus began a stream of pilgrims to this private study where hung the Image of the Holy Face. By the end of the year, Leo could no longer keep track of how many people had been cured after praying the Litany to the Holy Face and being anointed with the oil. Even though there was no indication that the interdict on the revelations of Sr. Mary of St. Peter would be lifted so that he could publicly propagate the devotion, Leo nevertheless continued to open His house to all those who sought healing of body, mind or spirit. It was not until Leo was on his deathbed that he had the consolation of seeing the interdict lifted by the newly appointed archbishop. “The most beautiful work under the sun” truly was going to be established and it was Leo Dupont, the Holy Man of Tours, who had kept the devotion alive in his humble parlor on Rue St. Etienne.
All quotations are from The Holy Man of Tours: The Life of Leo Dupont by Dorothy Scallan
published by TAN.
For additional information on Leo Dupont, the well written book called The Holy Man of Tours by Dorothy Scanlan is also available from TAN.