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Born: 1221 in Bagnoregio, Province of Viterbo, Latium, Papal States
Died: July 15, 1274 in Lyon, Lyonnais, Kingdom of Arles
Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Canonized: April 14, 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV
Feast Day: July 15
Saint Bonaventure, widely known as “The Seraphic Doctor,” was born at Bagnorea in Tuscany, in 1221. He was originally called John but received the name of Bonaventure in consequence of an exclamation of Saint Francis of Assisi, when, in response to the pleading of the child’s mother, the Saint prayed for John’s recovery from a dangerous illness, and, foreseeing the future greatness of the little John, cried out, “O buona ventura” - O good fortune!
At the age of 22, Saint Bonaventure entered the Franciscan Order. Having made his vows, he was sent to Paris to complete his studies under the celebrated doctor Alexander of Hales, an Englishman and a Franciscan. After the latter’s death he continued his course under his successor, John of Rochelle. In Paris he became the intimate friend of the great Saint Thomas Aquinas. He received the degree of Doctor, together with the latter’s inclination, the honor of having it first conferred upon him. Like Saint Thomas, he enjoyed the friendship of the holy King, Saint Louis.
At the age of 35 he was chosen General of his Order and restored a perfect calm where peace had been disturbed by internal dissensions. He did much for his order and composed the life of Saint Francis. He also assisted at the translation of the relics of Saint Anthony of Padua. He was nominated Archbishop of York by Pope Clement IV, but he begged not to be forced to accept that dignity. Gregory X obliged him to take upon himself a greater one, that of Cardinal and Bishop of Albano, one of the six suffragan Sees of Rome. Before his death he abdicated his office of General of the Franciscan Order. He died while he was assisting at the Second Council of Lyons on July 15, 1274, and was canonized in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.