Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saint of the Day - St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure was born in 1221 in Bagnoregio, Tuscany, Italy the son of Giovanni di Fidenza and his wife Ritella. St. Bonaventure was baptized Giovanni after his father. Legend states that, through the prayers of St. Francis of Assisi, young Giovanni was cured of a childhood illness.

At the age of 22 Giovanni entered the Franciscan Order of Friars Minar and took the name Bonaventure. The young friar was sent to Paris to complete his education. It was here that he first met St. Thomas Aquinas who would be a life-long friend. He also befriended King St. Louis IX for whom he composed an office of the Passion of Our Lord.

In 1257, the 35 year old Bonaventure was elected minister general of the entire Franciscan order. He was so succesful in this position that his brothers bestowed on him the title of "Second Founder" of the Friars Minor. In addition he was known to be an excellent preacher who also produced several written works such as his biography of St. Francis, Commentary on the Franciscan Rule, and Journey of the Soul to God.

Pope Gregory X raised Bonaventure to the stature of Cardinal and appointed him to the see of Albano (though the humble friar stubbornly protested that he did not desire these appointments).

St. Bonaventure was a moving force behind the Council of Lyons but died of natural causes on July 15, 1274, before the close of the Council. He was canonized on April 14, 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV. He is the patron saint: against intestinal problems; of Bagnoregio, Italy; of the Cochiti Indian Pueblo; and of St. Bonaventure University in New York.

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