A Garner of Saints – Saint Bernardino of Siena

detail from 'Saint Bernardino' by El Greco, 1603, oil on canvas, Museo del Greco, Toledo, SpainArticle

Of the noble family of the Albizeschi, born at Massa, in the jurisdiction of Siena, on 8th September 1380. His parents dying in his early childhood he was brought up by an aunt, who encouraged all his acts of piety. At the age of seventeen he entered the brotherhood of the Virgin at Siena, whose purpose was to tend the sick at the hospital of La Scala. Here he practised the most severe austerities, and during an outbreak of the plague exhibited the greatest devotion. In 1404 he assumed the Franciscan habit. His austerities were now redoubled, and though his relations taxed him with dishonouring his family by his abject life, he bore their reproaches with patience. One day as he was prostrate before the crucifix he thought he heard it address him, saying, “My son, if you wish to imitate me, fix yourself naked to your cross and follow me, and doubtless you will find me.” The friars sent him to preach, and he did so in all parts of Italy with the greatest success, going about carrying a tablet with I.H.S. inscribed on it. At Milan the duke sought to tempt him with a present of 100 ducats. The saint twice refused the offer, but at length took the money to the debtors’ prison and distributed it among the prisoners. He died at Aquila in the year 1444. When his body was laid in the church previous to burial, a boy of nine, who was lame, went to pray at the bier and was immediately made whole, and a lame man who did the same was also cured, so that when the report got abroad the blind and lame and halt flocked to the place and were healed. 20th May.

Attributes

  • Franciscan habit, and holds a tablet or disc with I.H.S. inscribed upon it; occasionally he carries a little green hill composed of three mounds and surmounted by a cross or standard.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Bernardino of Siena”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 April 2017. Web. 24 June 2017. <>