Father Leo Jones, MM
Born: January 25, 1895
Ordained: September 20, 1924
Died: September 16, 1936
Leo Jones was born in Dowagiac, Michigan on January 25, 1895. After attending Notre Dame University and Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, he entered Maryknoll in September, 1922. He said that he came to Maryknoll to fulfill a boyhood dream of engaging in mission work. The Catholic Students’ Mission Crusade was an important factor in nurturing his attraction to the foreign missions during his college years. Msgr. Van Antwerp of Detroit, a priest widely known for his mission-mindedness, helped him to come to a final decision.
On September 20, 1924 Father Jones was ordained by Bishop John Dunn of New York. He spent the next three years as a professor at the Venard and endeared himself to the students by his interest in helping them on the athletic fields.
In 1927 he was assigned to Wuchow. He spent six years doing work of the grass-root type in Watlam, at that time still a walled city. Father Jones contained in a marked degree within himself the prime requisite of a missioner: charity for all. When he first went to Watlam there were only three Christians in the city, his catechist, his cook and himself. Among the townspeople he found strong sentiments of prejudice and suspicion. Despite this hostile atmosphere he threw open his home and his heart to his people. Soon everyone knew that at any hour of the day or night he was there to receive them, chat with and minister to their every need. If any man in the Wuchow mission had become “all things to all men to gain all for Christ” it was Father Leo.
He received the last anointing, going to the Lord on September 16, 1936. The body was brought to the central mission at Thai Waan where the funeral Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Meyer, assisted by Frs. Mark Tennien and Timothy Daley. Burial was at Tung Ling, about three miles from Taai Waan at the Catholic cemetery there.