St Bonaventure, St Swithun

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Saint Of The Day

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.

and St Swithun

Bishop. Not much is known about this ninth century saint. He was a trusted counsellor to kings Egbert and Ethelwulf and known for his care for the poor. He also had a reputation as a healer. St Swithun was made bishop of Winchester in 852 and died in 862.

He had asked to be buried in the cathedral churchyard, but a hundred years later his remains were moved into the cathedral, where his shrine became a centre for pilgrimage. It was rebuilt several times through the centuries, but destroyed at the Reformation. The cathedral authorities restored the shrine in 1962.

There are 58 ancient churches in England dedicated to St Swithun.

According to tradition, if the weather is good, or poor, on his feast day we can expect the same for the next forty days.