Saint Bonaventure Audiobook
Authors: Bob and Penny Lord
Publisher: Journeys of Faith
Format: Audiobook mp3 download
St. Bonaventure was born in Viterbo, only about 60 miles from Assisi, in 1221, just five years before the death of St. Francis. There is a tradition that he was re-named by St. Francis when he was healed of a serious illness by the little Poverello, or poor one. His birth name was John, but the tradition, or Fioretti, tells us that when St. Francis healed him, he proclaimed "O buona ventura" or good fortune. There's nothing to base that on, other than tradition, but St. Bonaventure himself, tells us that he was spared from death by the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi.
He was destined to be clothed in the tunic of St. Francis and the friars all his life. He loved Francis and everything Franciscan, except the bitter infighting in the Franciscan community that had been going on for as long as he could remember, actually since before the death of St. Francis. One of his greatest ambitions in life was to bring the dissident factors of the Franciscan community, which had grown so far apart, together as a family. But his attempt to unite the Franciscans didn't happen until later on in his life.
Bonaventure’s superiors in the Franciscan community could see early on that as well as being extremely spiritual, Bonaventure was also very intelligent, and so he was sent to the University of Paris to complete his studies. An English professor, Alexander of Hales, who founded the Franciscan school at the University of Paris, took Bonaventure under his wing. It was he who said of Bonaventure, "It would seem as if he had never been affected by the sin of Adam." This gives us just a small inkling of how spiritual, and also how well-respected Bonaventure was. He was very cheerful, and pleasant. Even when he had to be firm in his dealings with the Franciscan community, or during his years of teaching at the University of Paris, or any of the many tasks he had to perform for the various Popes who reigned during his lifetime, he projected humility and the love of Jesus in everything he did.