Ordinary Time: July 15th
Memorial of St. Bonaventure, bishop and doctor
Old Calendar: St. Henry, emperor and confessor
St. Bonaventure was born in Italy in 1221. He joined the Franciscan Order and went to Paris for his studies. He was made General of his Order and deserves to be reckoned its second founder for his work in consolidating an institution that was as yet ill-defined in nature. St. Bonaventure died at Lyons in 1274 during the general Council between Greeks and Latins held in this city. Dante had already included him among the inhabitants of his "Paradise". He is known as the Seraphic Doctor.Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar today was the feast of St. Henry, whose optional memorial is now observed on July 13. In England this day is known as "St. Swithin's Day", celebrating the day his relics were transferred. The Catholic Church celebrates his feast on July 2.
"In Bonaventure we meet a unique personality. He was unsurpassed in sanctity, wisdom, eloquence, and gifted with a remarkable skill of accomplishing things, a heart full of love, a winning disposition, benevolent, affable, pious, charitable, rich in virtue, beloved by God and man. . . . The Lord endowed him with such a charming disposition that everyone who saw him was immediately attracted to him." In these words the historian of the Council of Lyons concludes his account on St. Bonaventure.
Often portrayed as: Cardinal in Franciscan robes, usually reading or writing. Things to Do:
- Read a lenghtier account of St. Bonaventure's life in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
- In Journey of the Mind to God St. Bonaventure wrote: "I propose the following speculations to be free for those willing to magnify, admire and even take a taste of God, intimating, that too little or nothing is the proposed, exterior gaze [speculum], unless the mirror [speculum] of our mind has been wiped and polished. Exert yourself, therefore, man of God, before [prius ad] the sting of conscience bites again, and before you raise your eyes towards the rays of wisdom glittering in His reflections [speculis], lest by chance from the sight [speculatione] itself of the rays you fall into the more grave pit of shadows." You can read the entire work available at the here or purchase a copy from Amazon.
- For even more of St. Bonaventure's works you can visit the Franciscan Archives.
- For those who just can't get enough of St. Bonaventure here are several links: Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Triumph of the Catholic Intelligence: St. Bonaventure, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Swithin's Day
The Roman Martyrology mentions St. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester, England. He died on July 2, but "St. Swithin's Day" is July 15 in the Anglican Church. He is another of the "weather saints" — if it rains on July 15, it will rain forty more days. If no rain, it will be fair for forty more days, as the old rhyme says:
St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days ‘twill rain nae mair.
This weather patronage traces back to July 15, 871 when the monks were translating his body (relics) from the outdoor grave to an indoor shrine in the Cathedral. The saint apparently did not approve, as it rained for 40 days afterward. See July 2 for more biographical details of this saint.