Saint of the day
St. Bernardine of Siena
St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor. His parents died when he was seven, and his aunt took him in and raised him. She loved him as if he were her own child. His relatives also gave him a good education. He grew up to be a tall, handsome boy. He was so much fun that his friends loved to be with him. Yet they knew better than to use bad language when he was around. He would not allow it.
This saint had a special love for the Blessed Mother. She was the one who kept him pure. Even when he was a teenager, Bernardine would pray to her as a child talks to his mother.
Bernardine had a kind heart. He felt great pity for the poor. Once his aunt had no extra food to give a beggar. The boy cried, “I’d rather go without food myself than leave that poor man with none.” When a plague struck the area in 1400, Bernardine and his friends volunteered their services at the hospital. They helped the sick and dying day and night for four months until the plague had ended.
Bernardine joined the Franciscan Order when he was twenty-two. He became a priest. After several years, he was assigned to go to towns and cities to preach. The people needed to be reminded about the love of Jesus. Bad habits were ruining both young and old people. “How can I save these people by myself?” Bernardine asked the Lord in prayer. “With what weapons can I fight the devil?” And God answered, “My Holy Name will be enough for you.” So Bernardine spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He used this Name a great many times in every sermon. He asked people to print Jesus’ name over the gates of their cities, over their doorways—everywhere. Through devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and devotion to the Blessed Mother, Bernardine brought thousands of people from all over Italy back to the Church.
St. Bernardine spent forty-two years of his life as a Franciscan. He was offered the opportunity to become a bishop three times, but declined each time. In 1430 he was elected vicar general and for twelve years he worked to reform his Order. As a result of his efforts, the number of members grew from three hundred to over four thousand! He died at the age of sixty-four in Aquila, Italy, on May 20, 1444. He was declared a saint just six years later, in 1450, by Pope Nicholas V.
St. Bernardine devoted himself to serving Jesus and making everyone love his holy name. We can learn from him to respect the Lord’s name and avoid the habit of using bad language.