Leonard began a life of austerity, sanctification, and preaching. His desire to know God grew until he decided to enter the monastery at Orleans, France. His brother, Saint Lifiard, followed his example and left the royal court, built a monastery at Meun, and lived there. Leonard desired further seclusion, and so withdrew into the forest of Limousin, converting many on the way, and living on herbs, wild fruits, and spring water. He built himself an oratory, leaving it only for journeys to churches. Others begged to live with him and learn from him, and so a monastery formed around his hermitage. Leonard had a great compassion for prisoners, obtaining release and converting many, who then lived near him and helped clear lands and grow crops.
It is both this work and the fact that he lived off herbs and vegetables on his travels that made him the patron saint of those who grow and sell vegetables. He is also know as the Vegan Saint.
This is a perfect saint day to explore salad dressings, vegetable side and main dishes, so here are a few suggestions.
- Cook the barley according to the package directions (set aside.)
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Add the carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes (and their juices) and 8 cups water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the soup has slightly thickened and the vegetables are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Add the herbs and kale and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and cooked barley and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.