Tag Archives: Franciscan saints and blesseds

Saint Bonaventure

St Bonaventure enters OFM FHerrera the elder.jpg

O God, Who did give Thy people blessed Bonaventure as a minister of eternal salvation, we beseech Thee; grant that we may deserve to have him as an intercessor in heaven, whom we had as a teacher of life on earth.

Today, the Church celebrates the feast day of Saint
Bonaventure
. Born and baptized in 1221 as John in Bagnoregio, Tuscany, he had an encounter with Saint Francis of Assisi. John was a very sick child is said to have been brought to Saint Francis who prayed over him and brought him back to health. The pious legend has it that Saint Francis exclaimed “O buona ventura.”The healing wasn’t enough for John to enter the Franciscan order. A man of considerable talent and brilliance, the desire to study led him to the University of Paris where as a layman he completed his Master of Arts by the age of 22. He was regarded as an expert and a popular lecturer in logic and rhetoric. The Franciscans indicate that he enter the fraternity in either 1238 or 1243.By 1256 Bonaventure’s university life was anxiety provoking when lay professors started violently opposing their religious counterparts. In 1257 and not yet 36 years old, Bonaventure was elected minister general of the Franciscans. He was known to keep the unity and direction for the friars at a time that the order was experiencing unrest. Both Saints Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas were given their doctoral degrees from the University of Paris on 23 October 1257.The saint served the Church as bishop of Albano and as a cardinal.

Bonaventure died in 1274 while participating in the Council of Lyon; he was invited to the council by Pope Gregory X.

As a scholar and thinker with a sterling character, Saint Bonaventure was known to intercede for others before God and richly blessed by God leading others to say that he had escaped original sin. He left the Church a rich written legacy intellectual works and an incredible constellation of high profile students. His The Life of Saint FrancisCommentary on the Sentences of LombardCommentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, and Itinerarium Mentis ad DeumBreviloquium are his significant works.

Bonaventure was canonized by Pope Sixtus IV and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Sixtus V.

Saint Thomas Aquinas asked Saint Bonaventure about the source of his teaching; Bonaventure responded, “I study only the crucified one, Jesus Christ.” And so should we.

In your spare time why not read Joseph Ratzinger’s book, Theology of History in St. Bonaventure?

Blessed Junipero Serra


Bl Junipero Serra.jpgMy words that I have put in your mouth, says the Lord, will never be absent from your lips, and your gifts will be accepted on my altar.

God most high, Your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them. By his intercession, and through the example of his apostolic zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
An interesting itinerary of Blessed Junipero

Seized by Christ, Saint Padre Pio leads the way for renewal, Pope said

Pope in prayer before St Pio.jpg

As part of the inaugural observances for the Year of the
Priest, Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage to and celebrated the Sacrifice of the Mass Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Graces at San Giovanni Rotondo, resting place of  Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. In the days following the feast of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus and with devotion to Our Lady in mind, the Pope recalled that the fruit of Padre Pio’s close bond with the Sacred Heart of Christ and His mother, Mary, inspired him to found the House for the Relief of Suffering:  “All his life and his apostolate took place under the maternal gaze of the Blessed Virgin and by the power of her intercession. Even the House for the Relief of Suffering he considered to be the work of Mary, ‘Health of the sick.'”

Pope at Rotondo.jpg

Born Francisco Forgione, at the age 23 the obscure Capuchin Franciscan friar was said to have received the gift of the sacred stigmata. On Saint Pio‘s hands and side the wounds were similar to the stigmata, or the wounds of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, according to Christian belief. The Pope proposed to us another model for priests by giving the example of this friar from Pietrelcina: “A simple man of humble origins, ‘seized by Christ‘ (Phil 3:12) … to make of him an elected instrument of the perennial power of his Cross: the power of love for souls, forgiveness and reconciliation, spiritual fatherhood, effective solidarity with the suffering. The stigmata, that marked his body, closely united him to the Crucified and Risen Christ.”

Relating today’s gospel with the life of Saint Pio, His
Holiness also said to the gathered faithful:

The solemn gesture of calming the stormy sea is clearly a
sign of the lordship of Christ over the negative powers and it induces us to think of His divinity: “Who is He – ask the disciples in wonder -that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mk 4:41). Their faith is not yet steadfast, it is taking shape, is a mixture of fear and trust; rather Jesus trusting abandonment to the Father is full and pure. This is why He sleeps during the storm, completely safe in the arms of God – but there will come a time when Jesus will feel anxiety and fear: When His time comes, He shall feel upon himself the whole weight of the sins of humanity, as a massive swell that is about to fall upon Him. Oh yes, that shall be a terrible storm, not a cosmic one, but a spiritual one. It will be Evil’s last, extreme assault against the Son of God…. In that hour, Jesus was on the one hand entirely One with the Father, fully given over to him – on the other, as in solidarity with sinners, He was
separated and He felt abandoned.

Remaining united to Jesus, [Padre Pio] always had his sights on the depths of the human drama, and this was why he offered his many sufferings, why he was able to spend himself in the care for and relief of the
sick – a privileged sign of God’s mercy, of his kingdom which is coming, indeed, which is already in the world, a sign of the victory of love and life over sin and death. Guide souls and relieving suffering: thus we can sum up the mission of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina: as the servant of God, Pope Paul VI said of him.”

Pio pic gift to Pope.jpg

At one point in his address the Benedict spoke to the
Franciscan friars and those connected with the spiritual groups linked to Saint Pio and anyone else, the Pope affirmed: “The risks of activism and secularization are always present, so my visit was also meant to confirm fidelity to the mission inherited from your beloved Father. Many of you, religious and laity, are so taken by the full duties required by the service to pilgrims, or the sick in the hospital, you run the risk of neglecting the real need: to listen to Christ to do the will of GodWhen you see that you are close to running this risk, look to Padre Pio: In his example, his sufferings, and invoke his intercession, because it obtains from the Lord the light and strength that you need to continue his mission soaked by love for God and fraternal charity.”

Following Mass, the Holy Father led the faithful in the Angelus prayer (the great prayer recalling the Incarnation) calling to mind Padre Pio’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Benedict remarked, “To the intercession of Our Lady and St Pio of Pietrelcina I would like to entrust the Special Year for Priests, which I opened last Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May it be a privileged opportunity to highlight the value of the mission and holiness of priests to serve the Church and humanity in the third millennium!”

Watch the video clip

Another video explaining more of Padre Pio’s life

Read the papal homily

Read the papal address to priests and youth

Saint Anthony of Padua

Vision of Anthony VCarducho.jpg

 

 

May the sacred solemnity of blessed Anthony, Thy Confessor and Doctor, give joy to Thy Church, O God; that she may ever be defended by spiritual help and deserve to enjoy eternal happiness.

Saint Bernardine of Siena

St BernardineNo other name under heaven has been given to men by which we can be saved.

Father, You gave Saint Bernardine a special love for the holy name of Jesus. By the help of his prayers, may we always be alive with the spirit of your love.

Many people think the IHS symbol originated with and belongs exclusively with the Society of Jesus. The typical Jesuit use of IHS is slightly different from the one used by Bernardine in that the 3 nails are included in the Jesuit monogram. Historically the IHS is an ancient symbol and it was popularized by today’s Saint Bernardine of Siena, the Apostle of Italy or alternatively called the Apostle of the Holy Name.

As a monograph for the name of Jesus Christ it became more popular after the 12th century. We know that Saint Bernard of Clairvaux had a devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as well as other notable other churchmen and women. Let’s remember that Bernardine suffered great opposition at the hands of the Church for his use devotion and propagation of the Name of Jesus because it was seen as idolatry. By 1530, the Church approved of the Mass text for the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Name of Jesus, celebrated today on January 3, restored to the Roman Missal by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Moreover, there is a long tradition of celebrating the second Sunday of each month as Holy Name Sunday (we did so growing up at St. Stanislaus Church, New Haven, CT).

I would like to recommend membership in The Holy Name Society

One Saint Bernardine’s famous homilies:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe name of Jesus is the glory of preachers, because the shining splendor of that name causes his word to be proclaimed and heard. And how do you think such an immense, sudden and dazzling light of faith came into the world, if not because Jesus was preached? Was it not through the brilliance and sweet savor of this name that God called us into his marvelous light? When we have been enlightened, and in that same light behold the light of heaven, rightly may the apostle Paul say to us: Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.

So this name must be proclaimed, that it may shine out and never be suppressed. But it must not be preached by someone with sullied mind or unclean lips, but stored up and poured out from a chosen vessel. That is why our Lord said of Saint Paul: He is a chosen instrument of mine, the vessel of my choice, to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel. In this chosen vessel there was to be a drink more pleasing than earth ever knew, offered to all mankind for a price they could pay, so that they would be drawn to taste of it. Poured into other chosen vessels, it would grow and radiate splendor. For our Lord said: He is to carry my name.

When a fire is lit to clear a field, it burns off all the dry and useless weeds and thorns. When the sun rises and darkness is dispelled, robbers, night-prowlers and burglars hide away. So when Paul’s voice was raised to preach the Gospel to the nations, like a great clap of thunder in the sky,
his preaching was a blazing fire carrying all before it. It was the sun rising in full glory. Infidelity was consumed by it, false beliefs fled away, and the truth appeared like a great candle lighting the whole world with its brilliant flame.

By word of mouth, by letters, by miracles and by the example of his own life, Saint Paul bore the name of Jesus wherever he went. He praised the name of Jesus at all times, but never more than when bearing witness to his faith. Moreover, the Apostle did indeed carry this name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel as a light to enlighten all nations. And this was his cry wherever he journeyed: The night is passing away, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves honorably as in the day. Paul himself showed forth the burning and shining light set upon a candlestick, everywhere proclaiming Jesus, and him crucified.

And so the Church, the bride of Christ strengthened by his testimony, rejoices with the psalmist, singing: “God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. The psalmist exhorts her to do this, as he says: Sing to the Lord, and bless his name, proclaim his
salvation day after day. And this salvation is Jesus, her savior.”

From a sermon by Saint Bernardine of Siena
Sermo 49, De glorioso Nomine Iesu Christi, cap 2: Opera omnia, 4. 505-506

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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