In Memory of Charles Leonard

Charles Leonard, a third-year Theology student at Mount Angel Seminary from the Diocese of Seattle, died on March 4th, 2010. As his colleague Bert Mello put it, "Charles is truly a hero. He courageously faced every situation that life presented him with an incredibly positive attitude. A quick witted humor is a hallmark of his approach to life. He is a special man who brought many smiles to those who were lucky enough to cross his path."

Charles was remembered at a funeral Mass at the Seminary on March 11th. Bryce Lungren, College 2 seminarian, appreciated seeing "the side of his life that many of us at school never got a chance to see. Charles was very active in the Life Teen program at St. Michael’s Parish in Olympia, WA. I remember him telling me once that he gave a lot of credit to Life Teen for his reversion back to the faith. It was great to meet some of his friends from the parish and to smile with them at many of the pictures and memorabilia of Charles that were on display."

Bryce also credits Charles with courage and good spirit in the face of his failing health. "For me it was the second reading of the Mass that summed up Charles’ life: 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' (2 Tim 4:7) For seminarians who watched Charles persevere in the last months of his life, these words speak loud and clear. We saw him walking around campus with a cane, then later a walker, then a wheelchair, all the time never grumbling, always optimistic. He even went to class right up until the day he died. What an example he was for everyone. Charles never gave up. Charles fought the good fight!"

President-Rector Fr. Richard Paperini remembers that "Charles was with us only a few short months. He had a wonderful fall semester, but his remission from cancer slipped away during spring semester and slowly he began to fade. Charles never complained and continued to attend classes up to the last possible minute. Just hours before his death he lay in the emergency room of the hospital joking with Abbot Peter and myself and had a big smile on his face. He served as a wonderful witness for all of us about a good way to die."