Spirituality for Today – May 2013 – Volume 17, Issue 10

Saint of the Month
St. Bernardine of Siena

May 20

A painting of Saint Bernardine of SienaSaint Bernardine of Siena

Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380. He lost his parents early. His mother died when he was three and his father when he was six years old. He was brought up by his wealthy uncle who lived in Siena. Bernardine was an excellent student and completed his law degree at the University in Siena. He was also active in Confraternity of Our Lady that focused on spiritual improvement and served the sick during the plague. His actions could have ended tragically since Bernardine contracted the disease from the poor he was helping. In 1402 he joined the Franciscans in Siena. At the Nativity of Holy Virgin Mary celebration he gave away his property to the poor and took the habit of Friars Minor. A year later he professed his monastic vows and was ordained in 1404.

Soon he gained fame as a passionate speaker and was recognized as Italy's leading preacher. His sermons were attended by large crowds.

In his preaching activity, Bernardine paid particular attention to the name of Jesus, which he venerated with a special passion. He also wanted his order to return to the charisma of St. Francis. When he encountered resistance from the other friars, he began creating a new monastery with a very strict rule. These monks were called Observants. Soon the congregation became larger than the order in which it was rooted. Bernardine also worked as a scholar and writer, leaving many excellent writings behind.

When he died in 1444, the number of faithful wishing to attend the funeral was so large that his body had to be transferred to the cathedral in Aquila. Many miraculous healings took place at his grave. Bernardine was counted among the saints in 1450.

Christ, You said,
"Leave everything behind and follow me."
We are praying for illuminations for those who put money and material things
over true values.
Let them see the hierarchy of things
and let them use their property for the happiness and benefit of neighbors.
Lord, help them reflect so that they can follow Your road too.


From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.