Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org
This week’s broadcast is the story of St. Bernardine of Siena, Franciscan preacher and missionary, known for his fervent devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.
St. Bernardine was born in 1380 in Massa, Italy to the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. Tragedy stuck, and both of his parents died by the time St. Bernardine was 7 years old. He was raised by a loving and nurturing aunt who inspired in him great devotion to God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
At 17 years of age, St. Bernardine joined the Confraternity of Our Lady, attached to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, to minister to the sick. A dreadful plague reached Siena in 1400. Sometimes as many as twenty people died in one day at the hospital. St. Bernardine recruited other young men to help run the hospital and care for the patients. Through God’s mercy, St. Bernardine escaped the plague but was left so exhausted that he had to be confined to his home for several months. He then spent a year caring for a beloved aunt. It was during this time that St. Bernardine began to discern God’s will for him.
At the age of 22, St. Bernardine entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For twelve years, he lived in solitude and prayer but felt a strong call to preach and to proclaim the Holy Name of Jesus. He traveled on foot from town to town throughout Italy, powerfully preaching the word of God to heal and transform broken lives.
St. Bernardine died in 1444 at the age of 63. He was canonized by Pope Nicholas V in 1450. The Feast Day of St. Bernardine of Siena is May 20.
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