Saint Bonaventure (1274)

He was a Franciscan who died when he was fifty three years old. His name in Baptism was John (Giovanni), and his last name was Fidanza. The name Bonaventure, which means good fortune, was given to him by Saint Francis of Assisi, who cured him of a serious illness when he was a small child. Many believe that Saint Bonaventure was the little boy taking the place of Jesus, put in the first Christmas crib built by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223, and that he was two years old when he portrayed Baby Jesus. When Saint Bonaventure was twenty years old he became a Franciscan. Later, he was created cardinal-bishop of Albano. He was a great friend of the Dominican, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Saint Thomas Aquinas is known as the Angelic Doctor. Saint Bonaventure is called the Seraphic Doctor. Saint Bonaventure says of the Blessed Virgin that when she saw the love of the Eternal Father toward men to be so great that He willed the death of His Son to redeem and save us, she united her will to His, and made an entire offering and consent to the death of her Divine Son on the Cross, that we might be saved. Thus did the Our Father and the Hail Mary blend together in the mind of this noble Doctor of the Church, Saint Bonaventure.

Saint Bonaventure writing the life of Saint Francis, when Saint Thomas comes to call.

Saint Bonaventure writing the life of Saint Francis,
when Saint Thomas comes to call.

  • Gabriel

    Is it not wonderful how often Saints come in pairs? That the Seraphic doctor, one of the greatest minds of the Church, should have been friends with another of the greatest minds of the Church, the Angelic doctor himself, is just amazing to me! Isn’t it incredible the way God works?

    I also find that friendship of theirs interesting as they both represent (and in many ways are the heads of) two very different schools of thought, the one Platonic (Bonaventure and his Ultra-Realism), the other Aristotelian (Aquinas and his Moderate-Realism).

    Aquinas’ philosophy certainly gets around today (like at the Saint Benedict Center) which is a good thing! But what a shame that Bonaventure’s is so often ignored! Were it not for the likes of Charles Coulombe (himself an Ultra-Realist), I would know little about said philosophy. Ultra-Realism really is quite an interesting Catholic philosophy, not to mention historically important, as it was basically the philosophical foundation of the Catholic Medieval order.
    Here is a link to an article Coulombe wrote on the subject: