Saint Bonaventure was born in 1221 at Bagnoregio (near Viterbo, Italy) and named after his father, John of Fidanza.
He died at Lyons in 1274 and his feast day is 15th July.
St. Bonaventure was especially noted for his spiritual writings and was called the Seraphic Doctor.
John joined the Franciscan order in 1243, taking the name Bonaventure. Noted for his learning and good judgement, Bonaventure was elected minister general of the Franciscans in 1257, at a time when the order was divided over how strictly it could observe St. Francis’s commitment to poverty. He healed the division and thus came to be regarded as the order’s second founder and the greatest friar minor after St. Francis of Assisi.
Pope Gregory X made him cardinal archbishop of Albano in May 1273. Bonaventure assisted in the preparations for a council at Lyons and was instrumental in reconciling the Eastern and Western divisions of the church. He died at Lyons in July 1274 and the reconciliation lasted for only another thirty years.
Bonaventure was a man of the highest intellectual attainments, and personal simplicity. He wrote the official Life of St. Francis of Assisi, and he himself travelled and preached the Franciscan way of life.
Pope Sixtus IV declared Bonaventure a saint in 1482, and in 1588 Pope Sixtus V designated him a Doctor of the Church. His emblem is a cardinal’s hat.
Prayer of Saint Bonaventure
Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee. Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial bread, having all sweetness and savour and every delightful taste. May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savour; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God; may it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end; and be Thou alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquillity, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen.