In these five meditations from the rich heritage of Franciscan spirituality, St Bonaventure, bishop, poet and Doctor of the Church, takes up the theme of spiritual motherhood, the mystical birth of God’s Word in the soul. We are invited to consider the place of Mary, Mother of the Lord and image of the Church, in our life of prayer, and to develop the maternal side of our nature.
Saint Bonaventure, or Bonaventura, (1217-74), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, was born Giovanni di Fidanza at Bagnoregio in Central Italy, and is said to have acquired the name Bonaventure (from the Italian ‘buona ventura’, meaning ‘good fortune’) when cured of a childhood illness. Bonaventure became a Franciscan at twenty-two, and received his doctorate in Paris, along with his close friend, Saint Thomas Aquinas. He was Minister General of his Order from the age of thirty-five until shortly before his death, restoring peace within the Order after a period of internal dissension. He became Cardinal-Bishop of Albano and was known as the ‘Seraphic Doctor’. His writings included ‘The Life of Saint Francis’ and ‘Five Feasts of the Child Jesus’. He died while attending the Second Council of Lyons.