Category Archives: Franciscan saints & blesseds

Saint Bonaventure

St Bonaventure cardSaint Bonaventure, today’s saint, is not as known among Catholics as his contemporary Aquinas is. Yet, he is a theologian and Doctor of the Church of some consequence. A Franciscan, priest and cardinal of the Roman Church, Bonaventure requires our attention. Below is a paragraph from the Divine Office today.

The saint taught:

If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervour and glowing love. The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: “My soul chose hanging and my bones death.” Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: “No man can look upon me and live.”

Saint Anthony of Padua

St Anthony El GrecoGod has given us a saint that is more important merely a person who finds loss items. Saint Anthony of Padua is really the model of being pure of heart. A rare virtue these days.

The liturgical memory of Saint Anthony of Padua (1191/5-1231), recalls for us that one of the most renowned Franciscans of history can be real, humble and call all to greater freedom in Christ. No one was immune to the preaching of Anthony: even the fish were converted to the Lord. The record gives us:

Historically, he was baptized Ferdinand into a family of knights in Lisbon, Portugal, then on the frontiers between the Christian and Muslim cultures, he entered the canons regular of St. Augustine as a young man, first stationed in Lisbon and then in Coimbra, where he received an excellent education in the Scriptures. The Friars Minor arrived in Portugal in 1217, and Ferdinand, inspired by five friars who were martyred in Morocco in 1220, joined them, taking the name Anthony after the small Franciscan hermitage outside Coimbra. He ended up in Italy, and within a few years, became a noted preacher in Northern Italy and in Southern France. Given permission by Saint Francis to teach theology to the friars, in 1227 he became provincial minister of Northern Italy and developed a strong association with the city of Padua. His preaching made a strong link between conversion to the Gospel and social justice. He died on this day in 1231 and was canonized the following year. 

 A thought from Saint Anthony’s homily for the Fifth Sunday after Easter. “Brothers and sisters, let us pray that the Lord Jesus Christ pour his grace into us by means of which we ask for and receive the fullness of true joy. May he ask the Father for us; may he grant us true religion so that we may merit to come to the kingdom of eternal life.”

For a more detailed popular biography click on this link.

If you look at the picture you’ll notice that Saint Anthony holds the lily, the  symbol of purity of heart. The presence of the Christ child in the saint’s scripture book is meant to indicate that Saint Anthony discovered the living Christ in the pages of Scripture.

Saint Catherine Vigri of Bologna

Catherine of BolognaToday, the Church and the Franciscans celebrate the memory of Saint Catherine Vigri of Bologna (1413-1463). Catherine was born to an aristocratic family of Bologna; Catherine spent most of her early life in the city of Ferrara as a lady-in-waiting at the court where her father was ambassador. She Catherine received a good education, yet she decided to leave the court to join a community of women in 1426; in the early 1430’s, she and some other members of the group decided to adopt the Rule of St. Clare.

By 1456, she returned to her home city to found a Poor Clare monastery. Catherine was known for her deep union with God and practical wisdom. Her incorrupt body may be viewed the a seated position, reflecting her role as a spiritual teacher. 

Pope Benedict XVI commented on Catherine’s most well-known work, the “Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons” in which she teaches that to combat evil it is necessary: “(1) to be careful always to do good; (2) to believe that we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves; (3) to trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves; (4) to meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus’ life, especially His passion and death; (5) to remember that we must die; (6) to keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds, (7) to be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions.”

Asking for the intercession of Blessed Angela Salawa

Not long ago someone asked me for a prayer to the Secular Franciscan Blessed Angela Salawa.  She read a blog post I did on Blessed Angela and wanted more. Here is a prayer asking for Blessed Angela’s intercession. The translation is from the Polish done by a Capuchin friar friend:

Triune God, I give you glory, praise and love for all the graces, which You willed to bestow upon Blessed Angela Salawa, and I beg You, if it is according to Your will, grant that through her intercession You grant me the grace of ….. of which I humbly beg.  Look upon the spirit of sacrifice and dedication Your servant, Blessed Angela Salawa, had for others and allow her to be my advocate before Thy throne in Heaven.  Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe

Kolbe“No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?”

A while ago I when I visited the death camps in Poland I had the opportunity to visit the prison cell of Kolbe. Walking into the cell where the saint lived his last days was intense. It was the first time I could connect the dots of how the confrontation of evil and good can happen, and how one can completely follow Christ in a concrete and meaningful way. The sacrifice of this Franciscan priest for the good of a married man and father is a striking example of how we can take up our cross today for the good of another person: be Christ-like.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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