St Bonaventure

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Franciscan friar, bishop and cardinal. St Bonaventure was born at Bagnoreggio, near Orvieto in 1218. A brilliant philosopher, he was made head of the Franciscans at a time when the order was expanding very quickly and there were many differences of opinion as to how it should be organised. St Bonaventure always worked for peace and reconciliation. Though a man of the highest intellectual attainments, he lived simply and rejected most honours.

St Bonaventure often said that a fool's love and knowledge of God may be greater than that of a humanly wise man.

When the Pope's envoy came to visit him at the friary of Mugello - to bring him his cardinal's hat - he asked him to hang it on a tree, and wait a few minutes because his hands were wet as he was washing the community's dishes.

St Bonaventure died during the second Council of Lyon in 1274. He was canonised in 1482 and made a doctor of the church in 1588. His emblem is a cardinal's hat.

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