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July 15

St Bonaventure - October 15

Saint Bonaventure

Cardinal Bishop, “Seraphic Doctor”

(1221 – 1274)

“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth.

Saint Bonaventure

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Bonaventure was born on 1221 at Bagnoregio, Tuscany, Italy to his parents, Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria di Ritella. He received the baptismal name of John (Giovanni). John had a serious illness and not even his father, who was a physician, believed that he would survive. His mother prayed for the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, who had been canonized a short time earlier. And John was cured.

Received His Masters Degree at 21

John went to the University of Paris when he was 14, where he studied theology under the English Franciscan, Alexander of Hales. After he had received the diploma of Master of Arts in 1243, John asked himself an important question: “What must I do with my life?” Captivated by the witness of the zeal of the Friars Minor in Paris, John asked to be received into the family of the followers of Saint Francis.

Entered Franciscans

In 1244, at the age of twenty-two, John entered the Franciscan Order and was named Bonaventure. After he made his vows, Bonaventure was sent to Paris to continue his studies in theology and philosophy. In Paris, he became a close friend of Saint Thomas Aquinas and received his Doctor of Theology degree, together with St. Thomas Aquinas. Like St. Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure enjoyed the friendship of the holy King, Saint Louis IX.

Bible Teacher

In 1248, Bonaventure began to teach the Bible. From 1251 to 1253, he lectured on the Sentences, a medieval theology textbook by Peter Lombard, an Italian theologian of the 12th century. Bonaventure taught University of Paris until 1257, He produced many works, notably commentaries on the Bible and the Sentences and the Breviloquium (“Summary”), which presented a summary of his theology. These works showed his deep understanding of Scripture and the Fathers of the early church—principally St. Augustine—and a wide knowledge of the philosophers, particularly Aristotle.


Bonaventure was known as both a brilliant teacher and a powerful preacher. Bonaventure was particularly noted in his day as a man with the rare ability to reconcile diverse traditions in theology and philosophy. He united different doctrines in a synthesis containing his personal conception of truth as a road to the love of God.

“Second Founder” of Franciscans

At the age of 35, he was chosen Minister General of his Order and became known as its “second founder.” Bonaventure restored a perfect calm to the Order where peace had been disturbed by internal disagreements. He did much for his Order. Bonaventure wrote 500 sermons, created a commentary on the Rule, and composed The Life of St. Francis.

Appointed Cardinal Bishop

Bonaventure was nominated Archbishop of York by Pope Clement IV.  But he refused the honor. Gregory X appointed Bonaventure as Cardinal and Bishop of Albano.  In that position, he was asked to draw up the agenda for the 14th General Council of Lyons in 1274. However, Bonaventure died while the Council was still in session on July 15, 1274, and was buried at the Franciscan church in Lyons, France. Bonaventure was canonized in 1482 by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor (the “Seraphic Doctor”) of the Church in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V.

“Seraphic Doctor”

St. Bonaventure’s theology is always written with holy fervor and consistently focused on increasing the depth and intensity of the spiritual life.  Because of his Divine zeal, Bonaventure became known as the “Seraphic Doctor.”

Beatified:           Unknown

Canonized:        April 14, 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV

Feast Day:         July 15

Patron Saint:    Bowel and Digestive Disorder; Students



Saint Bonaventure wanted the Franciscans to invite Christ to live within their hearts, so that they could more fully live out their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and preach the Gospel joyfully to all individuals. While we may not have made vows of poverty or chastity of a Franciscan priest like St. Bonaventure, we can invite Christ to live within our hearts. 

How can you live today more fully in obedience to the Gospel with Christ within your heart so that your actions are an example for others around you?


Saint Bonaventure, you upheld and defended the Franciscan order. You were friendly and compassionate. You are a model of what it means to live life well. Through your study, you were able to eloquently articulate the merits of your lifestyle.  May you intercede for us in our prayers for the ability and wisdom to speak persuasively about the importance of the Christian lifestyle.

Saint Bonaventure, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – St. Bonaventure’s advice for how to be at peace with your place in this world

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio – Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 15 July – St Bonaventure O.F.M. (1221-1274) – Doctor of the Church – Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. July 14 St. Bonaventure, Cardinal, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church

Catholic Culture – Saint Bonaventure (2)

Catholic Exchange – St. Bonaventure: Centered on Christ

Catholic Fire – St. Bonaventure: Seraphic Doctor of the Church

Catholic Ireland – Jul 15 – St Bonaventure (1221-74) Franciscan priest and theologian

Catholic News Agency – St. Bonaventure Feast Day: Jul 15

Catholic Online – St. Bonaventure – Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

Franciscan Media – Saint Bonaventure

Independent Catholic News – Today’s Gospel in Art – Feast of Saint Bonaventure

Loyola Press – Saint Bonaventure Feast day July 15

My Catholic Life – Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor

New Advent – Robinson, P. (1907). St. Bonaventure. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Bonaventure

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Bonaventure’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274)

Saint of the Day  – July 15 St. Bonaventure

uCatholic – Saint Bonaventure

Wikipedia – Bonaventure

Video Link

St. Bonaventure – YouTube Video (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)