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St. Bonaventure, “The Seraphic Doctor”, was born Giovanni di Fidanza in the vicinity of Viterbo, Tuscany in 1221. Nothing is known of his childhood except the name of his parents: Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Fidella.

Legend has it that when seriously ill as a child, his mother took him to St. Francis of Assisi. As the saint prayed over him, he was shown the infant's future spiritual greatness and exclaimed, “O, buona ventura!” O good fortune!”

He entered the Franciscan Order at age twenty-two and after taking his vows, was sent to Paris to study under the great Alexander Hale, and then John de la Rochelle.

In Paris he became close friends with St. Thomas Aquinas, and both received their doctorate at the same time. Like St. Thomas, Bonaventure was held in high esteem by King St. Louis IX.

Already while in Paris he was a great preacher and discourser and wrote Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, a work covering the whole field of scholastic theology.

He wrote extensively on philosophy and theology throughout his life.

It is said of St. Bonaventure that he united in himself two elements: tender piety and profound learning, from whence proceeded all that is most noble, sublime, great and beautiful in the Middle Ages.

At thirty-five Bonaventure was chosen General of the Franciscans, and restored peace in the place of disturbances generated by internal dissensions. While some friars were for an inflexible severity, others were for a more relaxed rule.

The saint steered the wise road of balance, reforming and restoring the spirit of his order and writing a life of St. Francis. It is said that St. Thomas Aquinas once entered Bonaventure’s cell while he was writing this biography and found him in ecstasy, “Let’s leave a saint to write about a saint,” said the Angelic Doctor.

In 1265, Pope Clement IV nominated Bonaventure to the archbishopric of York, which the saint humbly turned down to the acquiescence of the Pope.

But in 1273 Pope Gregory X elevated him to ecclesiastical dignity, and made him Cardinal, Bishop of Albano. At the Council of Lyons, he was the Pope’s right hand in preparing the matters to be addressed. Before the council began, St. Bonaventure abdicated the office of minister general of his order.

The Council of Lyons was instrumental in the effective reunion of the Greeks, a union desired by Emperor Michael Palaeologus. St. Thomas died on the way to this council, and St. Bonaventure was the council’s outstanding figure. But amidst his triumph, Bonaventure died rather suddenly during the night of July 14-15. According to the chronicle of his secretary, Peregrinus of Bologna, discovered in 1905, Bonaventure was poisoned.

He was canonized in 1482, and declared Doctor of the Church in 1588.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 22, 2021

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God rather for s...

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April 22

 

Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God
rather for sinners than for the just, since
Jesus Christ declares that
He came to call not the just, but sinners.

St. Anselm

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Theodore of Sykeon

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second...

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St. Theodore of Sykeon

Born in the Roman Galatian town of Sykeon in Asia Minor, Theodore was the son of a woman of ill repute, who kept an inn along the imperial highway.

As a child, he was so given to prayer that he would often give up a meal to spend time in church. From an early age he shut himself up first in the cellar of his mother’s house and then in a cave beneath a disused chapel. Later, for a time, seeking to further escape the world, he sought solitude on a mountain.

On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem Theodore assumed a monk’s habit, and though only eighteen years of age, was ordained a priest by his own bishop. His life was most austere, wearing an iron girdle about his body and only sparingly partaking of vegetables.

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he obtained abundant rain after a severe drought.

Theodore founded several monasteries, and ruled as abbot in Sykeon. He was consecrated Bishop of Anastasiopolis, though he deemed himself totally unfitted. After ten years he succeeded in relinquishing his post and retired to Sykeon.

From Sykeon he was recalled to Constantinople to bless the emperor and the senate and there healed one of the Emperor’s sons of a skin disease, reputedly leprosy.

Theodore had a great devotion to St. George and did much to propagate devotion to him.

He died in Sykeon on April 22, 613.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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