Saints and Theology of the Heart - St. Bernardine of Siena

Feast: May 20

He was born in Massa Marittima, in the territory of Siena, (today in the region of Tuscany, Italy), in 1380. He was orphaned and raised by an aunt.  From the time he was small he found pleasure in the things of God.  He would build altars and imitate the preacher.  From his adolescence he took great care to speak and act with purity.

When he was 20 there was a great plague in Italy and Siena was greatly affected.  He and his other young friends went to the hospital and served there for three months until the epidemic was over. At the age of 22 he left everything to enter a community of Franciscans.  Hearts were so moved by his preaching that stores were closed and even the classes of the university were canceled in order to hear him.  He converted innumerable sinners that came to him repentant. 

He entered the Order of the Friars Minor, was ordained a priest, and traveled through all of Italy as a preacher, with notable fruits. He propogated the devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.  He had an important role in the intellectual and spiritual promotion of his Order; he even wrote some treatises on theology. He spread devotion to the Eucharist.  He was accustomed to carry with him a small board which showed the Eucharist with rays coming out of it and, in the middle, the monogram HIS, which he helped to popularize as a symbol of the Eucharist.  He was a great reformer of the Franciscan Order. He did not lack trials: Pope Martin V suspended his preaching but Saint John of Capistrano helped him to fix the situation. 

He rejected three Bishoprics, founded more than 200 monasteries and intervened to bring peace between two factions, the Guelphs and Ghibellines. 

At the age of 63, St. Peter Celestine (Pope) appeared to him and warned him that his death was near, on the vigil of the Ascension.  He died in 1444 and six years later was canonized by Pope Nicholas V.  He is buried in Aquila.  He was incorrupt and his coffin bled constantly until peace came between the two factions that were fighting in that city. 


Saint Bernardine, who propagated the devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, give us a tender love for the Redeemer and obtain for us protection from respiratory illnesses, with which you yourself were tried.  We ask this through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
-Pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be


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