St Bonaventure (1218-1274) was born at Bagnoregio, Italy in about 1218. He became a Franciscan Friar in 1243 and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Paris. He became a famous teacher and philosopher, part of the extraordinary intellectual flowering of the 13th century. He was a friend and colleague of St Thomas Aquinas.
At this time the friars were still a new and revolutionary force in the Church, and their radical embracing of poverty and rejection of institutional structures raised suspicion and opposition from many quarters. Bonaventure defended the Franciscan Order and, after he was elected general of the order in 1255, he ruled it with wisdom and prudence. He is regarded as the second founder of the Order.
He declined the archbishopric of York in 1265 but was made cardinal bishop of Albano in 1273, dying a year later in 1274 at the Council of Lyons, at which the Greek and Latin churches were (briefly) reconciled.
Bonaventure wrote extensively on philosophy and theology, making a permanent mark on intellectual history; but he always insisted that the simple and uneducated could have a clearer knowledge of God than the wise.
He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V.
Here is a selection of St Bonaventure's most famous quotes:
‘The Trinity is the foundation of the entire Christian faith’
‘Aroused by all things to the love of God, Francis rejoiced in all the works of the Lord’s hands. As a manifestation of God, creation brought Francis great joy, and took him to its life-giving principle and cause. In beautiful things Francis saw and fell in love with God who is Beauty itself and through the signs of God’s presence imprinted on creation Francis followed his beloved everywhere. For Francis all things were a ladder by which he could climb up and embrace him who alone could satisfy his heart’
"(Thy Heart) has been wounded so that through the visible wound we may behold the invisible wound of love."(92)
‘The cross is our logic’
“In things of beauty, he (St Francis of Assisi) contemplated the One who is supremely beautiful, and, led by the footprints he found in creatures, he followed the Beloved everywhere”
“Since happiness is nothing else than the enjoyment of the Supreme Good, and the Supreme Good is above us, no one can enjoy happiness unless he rises above himself.”