Saint Bernardine of Siena: The Apostle of Italy

On May 20, the Church celebrates the feast of Bernardino (Bernardine) of Siena (1380–1444), a Franciscan friar and celebrated preacher called "The Apostle of Italy.”

Learning the liberal arts and law

Bernardino was born on September 8, 1380, in the Tuscan town of Massa Marittima, where his father, a member of the noble Albizzeschi family of Siena, was governor. Orphaned by the age of 6, Bernardino was raised by two devout aunts; as a youth he received an excellent education in liberal arts and law.

Serving the sick at a hospital

In 1397, he joined the lay confraternity attached to the largest hospital in Siena. When, in 1400, a severe plague descended upon the city, Bernardine, with some companions, took charge of the hospital for several months. He then cared for an aunt in her last illness. A few years later, he joined the Franciscans of the new Observant reform

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