Daily Bread

Saint of the Day

July 15

Saint Bonaventure

Bonaventure, known as the "Seraphic Doctor," had so great an influence in the Franciscan Order that he has been called its second founder. He was born in 1221 in Tuscany. Although baptized as Giovanni, legend has it that while still a child he was given the name Bonaventure ('Good Fortune') by St Francis of Assisi who cured him miraculously of a dangerous illness. Bonaventure joined the Friars Minor at age 20 and was sent to the University of Paris where he studied and then taught the philosophy and theology of the Franciscan school. Thomas Aquinas was his friend and colleague and they received their doctorates of theology at the same time.

In 1257, Bonaventure was chosen minister general of the Franciscan Order. Eight years later, he refused appointment to the See of York in England, but in 1273 Pope Gregory X insisted Bonaventure accept the See of Albano and made him a cardinal.

The pope, preparing an ecumenical council at Lyons designed to re-unite the Greek and Latin rites, called on Thomas and Bonaventure to assist him. Thomas Aquinas died on the way to the Council and at the end of it, Bonaventure, who had been the predominant figure at the assembly, also died. Despite his reputation for holiness, humility and virtue, and the dedication of his intellectual gifts to the service of the Church, his canonization was delayed until 1482 because of dissension within the Franciscan Order. In 1588, he was declared a Doctor of the Church. Bonaventure's writings on things Franciscan, such as his Life of St Francis, as well as on history, spirituality, and medieval mystical doctrine still inspire readers.

©2011 Living with Christ, Novalis - Bayard Press Canada Inc., http://www.livingwithchrist.ca/. Reprinted with permission.




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