July 15

St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure

St Bonaventure was a priest of the catholic church. He lived a lifededicated to ensuring that people of his time and in his order, TheFranciscan order lived a peaceful life as he always tried to reconcileconflicts.

Below is a short biography on his life and death, as well as hiscanonization.

Early Life of St. Bonaventure

St Bonaventure whose real name was Giovanni Di Fidanza was born in 1221in Bagnoregio. His father was Giovanni Di Fidanza, a physician, whilehis mother was Maria of Ritella. At baptism, he was given the name John.

As a little boy, legend has it that the little St Bonaventure fell ill,and his mother sought the intercession of St Francis of Assisi for acure. The legend further goes to say that St Francis saw a great futurefor the young John and at that point changed his name to Bonaventura(Italian) or Bonaventure (English) meaning bringer of good fortune.

Priestly Life of St. Bonaventure

Joining the Franciscan order in 1243, St. Bonaventure studied at theUniversity of Paris and obtained a Master of Arts degree. While inParis, he became close friends with St. Thomas Aquinas and the holyKing, St. Louis.

While in the school of Theology, his masters saw him as a student whohad a very keen memory and unusual intelligence, making him stand outamongst fellow students.

During his priestly years, he was able to integrate his study oftheology with the mode of the Franciscan order life. This he was able toaccomplish simply by turning the pursuit of truth into a divine form ofworship.

When it came to biblical teachings, St. Bonaventure started this missionearnestly in 1248. From 1251 to 1253, he was said to have lectured on amedieval theology textbook, the Sentences by Peter Lombard an ItalianTheologian of the 12th century.

Bonaventure was known to have an uncanny ability to reconcile thediversity of traditions often encountered in philosophy and theology.

As a devout Franciscan, he defended the Franciscan ideal of Christianityagainst William of Saint-Amour, who wanted to prevent the Franciscan andtheir brother order, the Dominicans from attaining positions. Thisoccurred in the year 1256.

Due to his great love and defense of the Franciscan order as well as hispersonal ability to adhere to higher principles and ideals, he waselected as the 7th Minister general of the Franciscans on the 2nd ofFebruary 1257.

Due to his ability to reconcile differences, he was able to end adiscord in the Franciscan order between the two factions that had formedby placating and reproving as needed. This ability of his made PopeGregory X appoint him the Cardinal Bishop of Albano, Italy in May 1273.

At an earlier time though, St Bonaventure had declined an appointment tothe See of York, England from Pope Clement in 1265.

Being the leading figure in the reformation of the church at the secondCouncil of Lyon, he was able to reconcile the secular church with themodecants in such a way that both sections of the church live and accepteach other peacefully.

Due to the graceful way in which he preached the bible, he was referredto as an eloquent preacher and easily won the hearts of those who cameto know him.

Works of St. Bonaventure

The most popular work of St. Bonaventure to this day is His “Journey ofthe mind to God”. A great masterpiece, it focuses on how man ought tomeditatively contemplate the divine God through Christ. The life of StFrancis was the example upon which this work of his was based.

He was also able to recodify the constitutions of the Franciscan order(1260), and wrote for the order, “A New Life of St Francis of Assisi(1263). In 1269, the order and the written work “A New Life of StFrancis of Assisi” were protected by St. Bonaventure from an assault byGerard of Abbevile.

Between 1267 to 1273, St Bonaventure was able to protect the church byensuring that the Christian faith was upheld and the views of unorthodoxmasters of Paris that contrasted with the revelations in philosophy,refuted.

Death and Canonization of St. Bonaventure

Sadly, St Bonaventure died suddenly on July 15th, 1274, in what was verysuspicious circumstances during the Ecumenical Council which he hadworked for. Though the cause of his death remains uncertain, some haveattributed it to a possible case of poisoning.

St Bonaventure was canonized by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV in theyear 1482, on April 14th precisely. Upon consideration of his works inthe life of the church. Another Franciscan Pope, Sixtus V would later inthe year 1588, declare St Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Bonaventure

  1. His baptismal name was John, the name Bonaventure was reportedly
    given to him by St Francis of Assisi who it was said could see
    into the future of people.
  2. He was born into a prosperous family as his father was a successful
    doctor in his era.
  3. The name Bonaventure which stuck to him means good fortune. It is a
    beautiful name for young baby boys.
  4. St Bonaventure is the Patron Saint of bowel disorders. You can seek
    his intercession whenever you have bowel problems.
  5. He is referred to as the Seraphic Doctor of the Church. This came
    about due to his sincere devotion to St Francis and the Franciscan
    way of life.

Prayer to St. Bonaventure

Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous andhealthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostoliccharity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love andlonging for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to bedissolved and to be with Thee.Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, therefreshment of holy souls, our daily and super substantial bread, havingall sweetness and savor and every delightful taste.

May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angelsdesire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetnessof Thy savor; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, thefountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, thetorrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God; may it evercompass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee,meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory ofThy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with easeand affection, with perseverance to the end; and be Thou alone ever myhope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy,my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, myrefreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession,my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm androoted immovably. Amen.