Jesuit Priest – (1711-1735)
+ Bernardo Francisco was born in Torrelobatón, Spain. After studying at the Jesuit’s colleges in Medina del Campo and Villagarcia, he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice in 1726.
+ 1726 was the same year that two young Jesuits—Aloysius Gonzaga and Stanislaus Kostka—were canonized and these saints became role models for Bernardo Francisco.
+ After making his religious profession two years later, he began his philosophical and theological studies and was ordained a priest in 1735, receiving a special dispensation because of his young age.
+ Bernardo Francisco had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—a devotion that holds a special place within Jesuit tradition—and, in 1733, he experienced the first in a series of private revelations, including a vision of Jesus in which Bernardo Francisco was asked to promote the devotion in Spain. On June 12 of that year, Bernardo Francisco consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart using the same formula Saint Claude la Colombiere had used years before.
+ In addition to distributing leaflets to promote the devotion, the Bernardo Francisco wrote to King Philip V of Spain, asking him to petition to the Holy See to approve a feast for the Sacred Heart.
+ Bernardo Francisco developed typhus in the autumn of 1735 and died on November 29, at the age of twenty-four. Remembered for his simple, faithful life and honored for his outspoken devotion to the Heart of Jesus, he was beatified in 2010.
Numerous saints had petitioned for a special feast in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, including the founder Saint John Eudes and the Visitation nun Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, whose visions of the Sacred Heart helped make the devotion popular throughout Europe. It was only in 1765 that Pope Clement XIII allowed the feast to be celebrated in Poland and by the Archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart in Rome. The feast became increasingly popular as devotion to the Sacred Heart continued to spread and, in 1856, Blessed Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the entire Church. It was Pope Leo XIII who, in 1899, raised it to the high rank it has today.
“Oh, how good it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus.”—Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos
We humbly ask you, almighty God,
that at the intercession of blessed Bernardo Francisco
you may multiply your gifts among us
and order our days in peace.
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: Common of Pastors)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.