Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Saints for Today: Bernardine of Siena, Friar (1380-1444)

Must Read

Run – or walk! – to show your support for the inaugural St. Michael Indian School Drexel Run

Looking to engage in a healthy, family-friendly activity while respecting social distancing guidelines?

Saints for Today: John XXIII, Pope (1881-1963)

Feast Day: October 11 Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the fourth of fourteen children born to a family of sharecroppers that lived...

From the Bishop: Why Priests (and Laity!) Should Make a Holy Hour Every Day

A daily hour of companionship keeps us from wandering far from Christ, and keeps us rooted in His truth.
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Feast Day: May 20

Bernardine was perhaps the most famous preacher in Italy in the first half of the 15th century. At age twenty-three, Bernardine had completed a classical education and capped it with a degree in canon law. In 1403 he joined the Friars of the Strict Observance (Observants), a new branch of the Franciscan Religious Order.

For more than a dozen years he lived quietly and unremarkable in Fiesole, Italy. But in 1417, a Franciscan novice prophesied three times to Bernardine. “Brother Bernardine,” he exclaimed, “stop hiding your gifts. Go to Lombardy where all await you!” The saint went obediently to Milan, not knowing what to do. But he soon discovered that his vocation was preaching when his eloquence began to draw huge congregations. Thousands came to hear this entertaining friar who used his personable humor and wisdom to penetrate their souls with Christian truth. Bernardine preached at great length, sometimes for as much as four hours. For nearly a quarter of a century he crisscrossed Italy on foot, calling people to repentance.

The letters “IHS” are the abbreviation of the Greek name for Jesus, and they appeared occasionally on Byzantine icons beginning in the fourth or fifth centuries. The monogram was virtually unknown in Western Europe until the fifteenth century, when it became an important part of the impassioned sermons of Bernardine, the wandering Franciscan friar, a fierce advocate of Christianity and spokesman for peace.

Bernardine tailored his preaching to appeal to a congregation’s faith, reason, and emotions; between his arguments he told stories that made listeners laugh or weep. He popularized the Holy Name of Jesus. At each sermon’s climax, when Bernardine held his audience’s attention, he would suddenly raise a wooden tablet on which the letters IHS were painted in gold. This dramatic gesture never failed to draw an outpouring of religious fervor. And everyone wanted a copy of the sign. A maker of playing cards whose business Bernardine had ruined by denouncing gambling made more money than ever by manufacturing a placard with the IHS image.

In 1437, the Observants elected Bernardine as their general. In six years he reformed the order, sending friars from their enclosures to service in the world. Overcoming the traditional Franciscan fear of learning, he required his men to study theology and canon law. During his period of leadership, he attracted so many new recruits that membership increased tenfold. He resigned in 1443 to return to preaching. But he died in 1444 shortly after delivering at his hometown a series of fifty sermons in as many days.

“God has two arms—an arm of love and an arm of fear. With both arms he embraces the sinner who desires to return to him. If you want to be loved by him, love him and he will prosper you. And if you fear him, he will protect you from every danger.” —St. Bernardine of Siena

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Craughwell, Thomas J. “This Saint Will Change Your Life.” Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2007.
Ghezzi, Bert. “Voices of the Saints.” Chicago: Loyola Press, 2000.
Heritage, Andrew, ed. “The Book of Saints: A Day-By Illustrated Encyclopedia.” San Francisco: Weldonowen, 2012.

Comments

comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Run – or walk! – to show your support for the inaugural St. Michael Indian School Drexel Run

Looking to engage in a healthy, family-friendly activity while respecting social distancing guidelines?

Advertisement

Other recent stories:

video

The Wages of Sin | Sunday Homily

"When the soul gives in to sin, it does not bear fruit...the fruit of happiness, meaning, justice, loveliness, and interior peace." Homilist: Bishop James Wall

Little Sisters of the Poor and Religious Liberty: Debunking the Myths

‘We have been subjected to criticism, derision and even death threats. We’d like nothing better than to return to our mission unhindered by the fear of millions of dollars in fines.’

How diocesan schools are adapting to Covid-19 as a new academic year begins

Whether in-person or virtually, teachers and staff remain committed to providing the best-possible education to their students.
video

The Biblical Case for the Papacy | Sunday Homily

Bishop Wall examines the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, in which Jesus designates Peter as the first Pope.

Advertisement

More Articles Like This

Comments

comments