Genesis 49.29-33; 50.15-26; Psalm 104; Matthew 10.24-38
John di Fidanza (1221-74) was born at Bagnoregio, near Viterbo. Little is known about his childhood, but his father was a physician and a man of means. There is a legend that St Francis of Assisi healed him as a four-year-old boy of a dangerous illness. At the age of 22 he joined the Franciscans and took the religious name of Bonaventure. He went to the University of Paris to study theology; at the age of 27 he was appointed Professor of Theology. He became a close friend of St Thomas Aquinas.
His academic life was cut short when in 1257 he was elected Minister General of the Franciscans. He governed the order for the remainder of his life. In 1265 he was chosen to be Archbishop of York, but he declined the appointment. In 1273, however, Pope Gregory X insisted that he accept the bishopric of Albano and the dignity of the Cardinalate. He was entrusted with direction of the Council of Lyons (1272-74), which was convened in an effort to heal the breach between the Eastern and Western churches. Bonaventure fell ill after the third session and died between the 14th and 15th of July 1274. He was canonised in 1482 and was declared a Doctor (teacher) of the Church in 1587.