St. Bonaventure's birth name was John. He became very ill when he was a child and at his mother's request, St. Francis of Assisi prayed for his recovery. When John did get better the good saint exclaimed, "O Buona ventura"-O good fortune!" Even then it is said that St. Francis saw the potential in St. Bonaventure.
As a young man, St. Bonaventure entered the Franciscan order and was sent from his home in Italy to live and study in France. He studied under many learned men including St. Thomas Aquinas.
He did a lot for the Franciscans including:
- Wrote the Life of St. Francis
- Worked and translated the relics of St. Anthony of Padua
- Cardinal and Bishop of Albano
- Served at the second council of Lyon, but died there.
Apparently he died very suddenly after experiencing very severe abdominal pain!. Perhaps it was a simple bowel obstruction or even appendicitis! Who knows! But that is how he came to be the patron of all afflictions of the bowel.
Prayer after mass written by St. Bonaventure:
O sweetest Lord Jesus Christ, I implore Thee, pierce the very marrow of my soul with the delightful, health-giving dart of Thy love, with true, tranquil, holy, apostolic charity, so that my whole soul may ever languish and faint for love of Thee and for desire of Thee alone. May it long and pine for Thy courts; may it ever desire to be dissolved and to be with Thee.
Grant that my soul may hunger for Thee, Who art the bread of angels, the comforting nourishment of all holy souls, our daily and most delectable bread, our supersubstantial bread, in which is found every sweet delight. May my heart ever hunger for Thee, on whom the angels lovingly gaze; may it feed on Thee; and may the innermost depths of my being be filled with the sweetness which comes from having tasted Thee.
May my soul ever thirst for Thee, Who art the source of life, the fount of wisdom and knowledge, the brightness of everlasting light, the flood of all true happiness, the riches of the house of God. May I at all times think of Thee; may I ever seek Thee and ever find Thee;
may I always follow thee and reach Thee; may Thy holy name be in my heart and on my lips; and to Thy praise and glory may every work of mine be done. Humble and discreet, loving and happy, ever ready and cheerful in Thy service, may I persevere, by Thy grace, even unto the end. Be Thou alone and evermore my hope; be Thou all my trust; be Thou my wealth, my delight, my joy, my consolation, my rest, my endless peace. Be Thou to me as a goodly taste, as a pleasant perfume, as a soothing sweetness.
Be Thou my food and my refreshment; my refuge and my help; my wisdom; my portion, mine own possession and my treasure. In Thee, O Lord, may my mind and my heart remain fixed and firm, and rooted immovably for evermore.
St. Bonaventure is a doctor of the church and is also known as The Seraphic Doctor.