Franciscan Saints
26th October

Blessed Bonaventure of Potenza

Confessor, First Order

 Pope Pius VI beatified him on 26th November 1775.

Bonaventure was born on 4th January 1651 in Potenza, Naples, Italy of poor and virtuous parents.  A pious priest gave the boy instructions in Latin. At the age of 15, Bonaventure received the Franciscan habit among the Conventuals. After his profession, he resumed his studies with great ardour, but his zeal for perfection was less ardent.  

His superiors sent him to Amalfi, where he lived eight years under the guidance of an eminent director of souls. This spiritual director trained his pupil above all in humility, self-renunciation and obedience, and Bonaventure achieved a high degree of excellence in these virtues.  

One day Bonaventure told his master that the key to the sacristy was lost. "Well," said his master with a smile, "then you will have to look for it in the well; get a rod and fish it out." Promptly Bonaventure went to the well and with rod and line fished for the key. It was not long before he actually drew it out. God rewarded him in a miraculous manner for his blind obedience.  

He was a successful priest. His words, conduct, prayer, and mortification combined to produce blessed results. His simple sermons made a deep impression on all hearts. At times a single word of his was enough to move the most toughened sinner to repentance.  

At various times he was appointed guardian of a convent, but his humble pleas were always successful in changing the mind of his superiors. Obedience at length compelled him to accept the position of novice master. In this office he sought to instil in his pupils above all the practice of humility and obedience.   An epidemic broke out among the townsfolk, and Bonaventure immediately sacrificed himself. Careless of contracting the disease, he hastened from end to end of the town, rendering every possible service to the stricken, even the poorest, and administering the sacraments to them. He cured many miraculously; he multiplied their insufficient provisions by his blessing, and he foretold future events.  

After Bonaventure had been a shining model of virtue among his brethren for 45 years, he felt that his last hour was at hand. While the community gathered about his bed during the administration of the last sacraments, the dying man in touching words begged pardon of his superior and the community for his many faults and infractions of the rule, as he called them.  

Deeply moved, the superior handed him the crucifix, and amid abundant tears the servant of God kissed the feet of the Saviour, and then died peacefully of natural causes while singing a psalm during a religious ecstasy on October 26, 1711. Rumour has it that while Blessed Bonaventure was being carried past the altar of the Blessed Sacrament, he made a devout head-bow to Jesus in the tabernacle. 2

Prayer of the church

O God, who didst propose Blessed Bonaventure, Thy confessor,
  to us as an admirable example of obedience, grant, we beseech
Thee, that like him we may deny our will and adhere to Thy
Through the same Christ Our Lord  Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen

Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois

 2. Manelli, Stefano , Fr.,O.F.M., Conv., S.T.D., Even After Death in THE FATIMA CRUSADER ,Issue 13 � 14, Oct. - Dec. 1983


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