Saturday, May 20, 2006

A saint whose bio sounds remarkably contemporary

Today is the feast of Saint Bernardino of Siena. I don't think I've ever heard of him before. Reading his bio in Universalis, I thought he could easily be a young man of today.

Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380 - 1444)
Bernardino (“Little Bernard”) was born in Tuscany. His parents died when he was a child. While still a student at the University of Siena he took charge of the hospital there when an epidemic killed most of the staff. Later he looked after a bedridden aunt until her death; and then, at the age of 22, he became a Franciscan.
He was an energetic and popular preacher and spent years travelling on foot through Italy preaching to enormous audiences. He denounced usury, promoted peace among the warring Italian cities, and worked hard for the reform and discipline of the Franciscan order, and for church unity.
Bernardino’s achievements before he became a Franciscan show what the young can achieve if given the chance. Let us try not to confirm them in a culture of enforced irresponsibility, but to encourage each of them to give to others whatever they have been called into this world to give.

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