St. Bernardine was born into a noble family but orphaned at the young age of seven. He was raised by his aunt. At the age of 20, he gathered a group of young men and they all went to the nearby hospital to help those who were ill and dying from the plague. Throughout the duration of the plague, he and his companions not only cared for the sick but helped clean and bring the hospital back into shape after being left in shambles due to the plague. After the plague had passed, Bernardine was sick himself – but only with exhaustion.
Once recovered, he spent the following year tending to his dying aunt. All his efforts went into caring for her until her death. The next few years Bernardine, in Siena, immersed himself in prayer and fasting. He felt God calling him to the Franciscan way of life and was ordained a priest in 1404.
A known characteristic of Bernadine was that he was very soft-spoken. He preached scarcely because his voice was low and hoarse. However, that all changed when he was on a mission and ended up preaching so loudly and commanding that the crowd was ataken aback. They refused to let him leave unless he promised to come back. Thus began his new career: preaching. He traveled far by foot to preach on the Gospel, the dangers of sinning, the mercy of Jesus, and much more. He died at the age of 63.
Bernadine’s never-ending willingness to serve those around him is a prime example of what it means to love thy neighbor. He loved fearlessly and cared wholeheartedly for others as if they were Christ themselves. Through the intercession of St. Bernadine, let us ask for the same bravery to love and serve those around us, especially those who are in need.
Prayer through the intercession of St. Bernardine of Siena
St. Bernardine of Siena, words were very important to you. You spent most of your life speaking the golden words of Jesus’ mercy and his Holy Name. And you abhorred words that were shameful.
Pray for us that we may always choose to speak Jesus’ name with reverence and choose words of love over words of shame. Amen