Saint Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure (1221–1274) was born with the name Giovanni in Tuscany, Italy. As a child he became seriously ill and was in danger of death until his mother brought him to St. Francis of Assisi, who was then living in the region as a mendicant friar. It is said that St. Francis healed the child and afterward exclaimed, "O buona ventura (O good fortune)!" when he prophetically perceived how great the child would one day become, and this is how he began to be called Bonaventure. He joined the Franciscan order at the age of 22 and went on to study theology at the University of Paris, where he became famous friends with the Dominican friar St. Thomas Aquinas. The two friends graduated together, each insisting that the other be the first to receive honors. St. Bonaventure is regarded as one of the great philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages, earning the name "Seraphic Doctor." In addition to his many writings, including a Life of St. Francis of Assisi, he was elected to serve as head of his order, and was appointed a cardinal-bishop by the Holy Father. St. Bonaventure died while assisting at the Second Council of Lyons, which worked for the reunification of the Catholic Church with the Eastern Orthodox churches. His feast day is celebrated on July 15th.
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