Category Archives: Franciscan saints & blesseds

Saint Bonaventure

San Bonaventura.jpg

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.

Ask my parents about the number of books I have. They’d say, “Too many.” But they also say that I don’t easily with them. However, I do weed out some of the books I deem useless to me and donate them to a monastery or a group of Benedictine sisters in outside of Pittsburgh who collect books for new monasteries in the developing world. I do try to act charitably.

A Capuchin friar friend of mine wrote a piece on his blog about his reluctance to lend books. I can relate. He found this paragraph of Saint Bonaventure’s that seems to capture the feelings of anyone who has ever been reluctant to lend a book:

[T]hose who are most importunate in asking for them are the slowest to return them; books return torn and dirty; he to whom they are lent, lends them to another without your permission, and this other sometimes to a third, and this third not knowing by now who owns the book is not in a position to give it back; sometimes again he to whom a book is lent leaves the place and is then too far away to bring it back; and if he manages to find someone to bring it back for him, this someone wants to read it before giving it back, or lends it, and ends up by denying that he ever had it; finally if a book is lent to one man others are angry that it is not lent to them too, so that one is forced to do without it oneself while waiting for it to come back dirty, or be lost altogether.

There’s still much to learn in the spiritual life when you take seriously the prayer of the Church (noted above), especially regarding the charity one ought to have. I fail at being charitable, a sin I confess often; but I keep trying to learn from the saints like Friar Bonaventure.

Some prior posts on Saint Bonaventure may be found herehere and here.

(Bonaventure, Determinationes quaestionum, II, 21, as quoted in Etienne Gilson, The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure, trans. Dom Illtyd Trethowan, 61-62.)

Saint Anthony of Padua


St Anthony of Padua with bk.jpgAlmighty ever-living God, who gave Saint Anthony of Padua to your people as an outstanding preacher and an intercessor in their need, grant that, with his assistance, as we follow the teachings of the Christian life, we may know your help in every trial.

One of the beautiful things that happened today was the reception of First Holy Communion of Giovannimaria Rainaldi, 6, who is living with neuroblastoma. From Rome, Italy, he’s been here seeking treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Giovannimaria has had a setback and needs our fraternal and prayerful support.

Be sure to read the select for Saint Anthony in the Office of Readings. As usual, it’s good for meditation.

Saint Anthony help us to find Christ, and stick with Him. Pray for us.

Saint Clare of Assisi continues to inspire countless



St Clare SMartini.jpg

The world’s
Catholics -not merely the Franciscans–are celebrating “Clarian Year,” to
observe the eighth centenary of the conversion and consecration of Saint Clare
of Assisi (1193-1253) which tradition tells us took place on Palm Sunday 1211
or 1212. Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi –
Nocera Umbra – Gualdo Tadino to express his own affection for the continued
witness of Saint Clare.

Saint Clare’s history “also speaks to our generation,
and has a particular fascination for the young. All Christian life, and thus
also consecrated life is the fruit of the Paschal Mystery and of our
participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Palm Sunday
liturgy pain and glory come together, a theme which will be developed over the
following days through the dark night of the Passion up to the ultimate light
of Easter. With her choice Clare relived this mystery.

At its most profound
level, Clare’s ‘conversion’ is a conversion of love. No longer would she have
the refined dress of the Assisan aristocracy, but an elegance of soul expressed
in praise of God and giving of self. Day by day a fraternity came into being
within the confines of the monastery of San Damiano, at the school of the Eucharistic
Christ, … a fraternity regulated by love of God and prayer, by concern for
others and service. It was in this context of profound faith and great humanity
that Clare came to interpret the Franciscan ideal, imploring the ‘privilege’ of
poverty and renouncing even the shared possession of material goods, something
which left even the Supreme Pontiff perplexed, until in the end he too
surrendered to the heroism of her sanctity.


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Saint Paul Miki and companions



St Paul Miki.jpg

O God, strength of all the Saints, who through the Cross were pleased to call the Martyrs Saint Paul Miki and companions to life, grant, we pray, that by their intercession we may hold with courage even until death to the faith that we profess.

The question of who was Saint Paul Miki is dealt with on Rome Reports today. The video gives a brief intro the life of the martyr and his companions.

From the cross, Paul said: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from
the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true
Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the
doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God
it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before
I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask
Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I
forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and
I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”

The 2011 post on Saint Paul Miki and his companions

The 2010 post on Nagasaki martyrs Paul Mike, et al.

Saint Seraphin of Montegranaro

St Seraphin of Montegranaro.jpg

More of the simple lay friars were made saints than the Capuchin priest friars. I wonder why? But a snippet from a biography on Saint Seraphin may be helpful to get a sense of the man:


In 1556, Felix repeated his request to the provincial minister who admitted him to the novitiate at Jesi, where Felix received the name, Seraphin. Upon his reception into the Order, Seraphin remarked, “I have nothing‹just a crucifix and a rosary‹but with these I hope to benefit the friars and become a saint.”

Although he was not totally illiterate, Seraphin could speak about God more eloquently than any theologian. Even the bishop of Ascoli, the eminent theologian, Cardinal Bernerio, sought Seraphin’s advice in especially difficult cases. 

With himself, Seraphin was austere. Only once in his life did he accept a new habit, and then, only out of obedience. For 40 continuous years, all he ate was soup or salad. In keeping with the spirituality prevalent at the time, Seraphin had a personal devotion of serving as many eucharistic liturgies as possible.

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]yahoo.com.
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