Franciscan Doctor of the Church (1221-1274)
+ Bonaventure was born in Tuscany in 1221. As a boy, he met Saint Francis of Assisi and he was inspired to enter the Franciscan Order in 1243.
+ He was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order in 1257. This was a time of crisis for the order as various factions began to interpret the teachings of Saint Francis in different ways. Bonaventure stressed the basic Franciscan values, especially poverty.
+ A brilliant thinker and gifted writer, he saw study and learning as being important for the friars’ ministries of preaching and teaching.
+ In 1273, Bonaventure was named cardinal-archbishop of Albano, Italy. He became a key figure in the theological and philosophical disputes of his day.
+ Saint Bonaventure, the “Seraphic Doctor,” died in 1274 while taking part in the Council of Lyons. He was canonized in 1482 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588.
For prayer and reflection
“Let us pass over with the crucified Christ ‘from this world to the Father,’ so that, when the Father has shown himself to us, we can say with Philip: ‘It is enough.’”—Saint Bonaventure
On this day we also remember Blessed Antoni Beszta-Borowski. A priest and the vicar-general of the Diocese of Pinsk, Poland. Known for his solicitude for all those entrusted to his care—both clergy and laity—during the Nazi invasion of Poland, he was arrested by the Gestapo and executed on July 15, 1943. During the few hours before he was shot, he spent his time praying with the other prisoners, hearing confessions, and helping them prepare for their own fate. Blessed Antoni was beatified with other Polish Martyrs of World War II in 1999.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure,
we may benefit from his great learning
and constantly imitate the ardor of his charity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.