(1380 – 1444)
Ordinary Time: May 20th
Bernardine was born in Carrara, Italy, in 1380. Even as a boy, he nursed
the sick during a time of pestilence in Siena. During a severe illness,
he decided upon entering a monastery and becoming a Franciscan. His
superiors assigned him the task of preaching, and he submitted humbly
despite a throat affliction. God heard his petition, and the ailment was
A powerful and eloquent preacher (Pius II called him "a second
Paul") and a zealous apostle, Bernardine traveled the length and
breadth of Italy, inculcating love and reverence toward the holy Name of
Jesus. He exerted a powerful influence upon his contemporaries,
inaugurating a genuine reformation within the Church. Seldom has a saint
had so many and so distinguished followers (including St. John
Capistran). Upon entering a city, Bernardine had a standard carried
before him, upon which was the holy Name of Jesus (IHS) encircled with
twelve golden rays and surmounted by a cross.
When he preached, this symbol was placed alongside the pulpit; or he
would hold in his hand a tablet bearing the divine monogram in letters
large enough to be visible to the entire audience. It was also his
zealous appeals that induced many priests to put the Name of Jesus on the
altars and walls of their churches, or to have little cards with the
inscription distributed among the people. At his instigation, the public
buildings in many cities of Italy were adorned with the monogram suitably
enlarged, as can still be seen in Siena. At the Council of Florence, St.
Bernardine labored strenuously to end the schism (1439).
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.