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Today we honor Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. “O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, blessed mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me, here you are my mother. O holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth: I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity (state the request). There are none that can withstand your power. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Holy mother, I place this cause in your hands. Amen.” —Prayer from Aleteia “O flor más hermosa del Monte Carmelo, vid fecunda, esplendor del cielo, madre bendita del Hijo de Dios, Virgen Inmaculada, ayúdame en mi necesidad. O Estrella del Mar, ayúdame y muéstrame, aquí tienes a mi madre. O santa María, Madre de Dios, Reina del Cielo y de la Tierra, te suplico humildemente desde el fondo de mi corazón que me socorras en esta necesidad. No hay ninguno que pueda resistir tu poder. O María, concebida sin pecado, ruega por nosotros que recurrimos a ti. Santa madre, pongo esta causa en tus manos. Amén.” —Oración de Aleteia Image: Our Lady of Mount Carmel with Bishop Saints by Gaspar Miguel de Berrío, 18th century
Today is the feast of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Very little is known about Bonaventure's childhood. He was born Giovanni di Fidanza in either 1221 or 1217, in Bagnoregio, Italy. His father, who he was named after, was probably a physician. He is said to have been healed by St. Francis of Assisi, who died in 1226. This was either in person before St. Francis' death or possibly through prayers for St. Francis' intercession. Giovanni went to school in Paris, where he befriended St. Thomas Aquinas. He joined the Franciscans at age 22 and took the name Bonaventure. Some accounts say he was named Bonaventure after his childhood healing, due to either his mother or St. Francis exclaiming, “O buona ventura!” (O good fortune!) Bonaventure stayed at the University of Paris to teach. Meanwhile, the Franciscan order was struggling. Their numbers had grown drastically since their founder's death, and they disagreed on the future direction of the order. The Franciscan life of mendicant poverty was unusual for a religious order. University education wasn't common for them because of St. Francis' worries about academic accomplishments leading to pride. The Franciscan Order was only a few decades old, and it was already becoming divided. Bonaventure was chosen as superior of the Franciscans in 1257 and worked on settling the growing conflicts. By then, the order had grown still larger, with members as far away as the Middle East and China. He unified the texts detailing daily life for the Order, and wrote a biography of St. Francis using documents and witness testimonies. He determined that Franciscans could still follow their call to poverty while pursuing higher education in areas such as philosophy and theology. Through his leadership, the Franciscan order was reunited. In 1273, Bonaventure was named a Cardinal and Bishop of Albano. At Pope Gregory X's request, he began planning the second Council of Lyon but died suddenly in 1274, while the council was still in session. St. Bonaventure, pray for us!
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