St. Bonaventure (c. 1217-1274)
Seraphic Doctor and Second Founder of the Franciscan Order. Bonaventure was born in Bagnoregio, Italy. He received the name “Bonaventure” from St. Francis of Assisi, who healed him of a serious illness when he was a child. Bonaventure studied at the University of Paris. Joining the Francisan Order, Bonaventure continued at the University of Paris as a professor of Theology and Sacred Scripture. In 1257, Bonaventure was chosen as Minister General of the Franciscan Order. As Minister General, Bonaventure sought to reform and bring harmony to an Order fragmented by all kinds of interpretations (from the extreme rigorists, to the lax, and everything in between). Although he declined the Archbishopric of York in 1265, in 1273 Pope Gregory X named Bonaventure Cardinal-Bishop of Albano. It is told that when papal messengers arrived to deliver the cardinal’s hat (called a galero), they found Bonaventure in the monastery doing the dishes, and that he told them to hang the hat up in the tree until he finished. Bonventure was asked to make preparations for the Second Council of Lyons, and played a pivotal role in the Council (one of the tasks of the Council was unity between the Catholics and Orthodox Churches). During this Council, Bonventure died during the night of July 14-15. People attested at his death that Bonaventure was of such great character that to know him was to love him.
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.