St. Leonard carries on a tradition of service handed down from its patron St. Leonard of Port Maurice who was a Franciscan Friar born in 1676. Responding to the Gospel of Jesus, St. Leonard assists seniors of all faiths to achieve their highest level of independence and well-being.
Our history began in the 1950s with the purchase of 240 wooded acres of beautiful, rolling terrain. By 1959, the seminary building was home to students and faculty of the Franciscan Friars Minor of St. John the Baptist Province in Cincinnati. The College of St. Leonard prepared young men for the priesthood and to respond to the spiritual needs of people. In 1982, the Franciscans and a group of local citizens formed the St. Leonard Center to provide low-income housing for the elderly. Our doors opened for the first resident in June of 1983!
The Friars were not prepared to create a senior-living complex, so they invited the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor who already sponsored St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton to develop the property for residential senior living. The Sisters agreed, and from 1985 until 2000, they sponsored St. Leonard and expanded the buildings and services offered. When St. Elizabeth Hospital was forced to close, the Sisters transferred sponsorship of St. Leonard to the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio whose health care system, Sylvania Franciscan Health, officially took over in 2001. In 2014, SFH became part of Catholic Health Initiatives. In 2018 Catholic Health Initiatives merged with Dignity Health to become CommonSpirit Health headquartered in Chicago.
St. Leonard carries on a tradition of service handed down from its patron St. Leonard of Port Maurice who was a Franciscan Friar born in 1676. He is often called the “Apostle of the Way of the Cross.” In his early life he was a teacher of seminarians and a preacher. More than 300 years later, the Franciscan spirit still lives in the form of an ecumenical Christian community for mature adults.