Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

St. Bonaventure

Feast day: July 15

(1217-1274)

Born in Italy as Giovanni di Fidanza around the year 1217, he was cured of a serious illness as a boy through the prayers of Francis of Assisi. Later, he studied the liberal arts in Paris.

St. Bonaventure entered the new religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi called the "Friars Minor" around the year 1243, about twenty years after Francis' death.  Bonaventure studied theology under the famous Alexander of Hales and became a professor at the greatest school of theology in the medieval world, the University of Paris where he taught alongside St. Thomas Aquinas, the "Angelic Doctor." 

Bonaventure was both learned and holy.  He was a Franciscan, theologian, and doctor of the Church.  Because of the spirit that filled him and his writings, he was at first called the Devout Doctor; but in more recent centuries he has been known as the Seraphic Doctor after the “Seraphic Father” Francis because of the truly Franciscan spirit he possessed.

Inspired by Francis and the example of the friars, especially of his master in theology, Alexander of Hales, he entered the Franciscan Order, and became in turn a teacher of theology in the university. Chosen as minister general of the Order in 1257, he was God’s instrument in bringing it back to a deeper love of the way of St. Francis, both through the life of Francis which he wrote at the behest of the brothers and through other works which defended the Order or explained its ideals and way of life.

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