Bagnoregio was the
birthplace of San Bonaventura (1221 - 1274 (53)). Born
Giovanni di Fidanza, legend says that his name was changed to
Bonaventura ("good fortune") by
Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226 (44)),
who miraculously cured him of a dangerous illness. San
Bonaventura was a
contemporary and friend of
Saint Thomas Aquinas (1226 - 1274 (48)).
He went to the University of Paris when he was 14, and
studied theology under the English Franciscan Alexander of Hales
(the "Unanswerable Doctor"). In 1241 he entered the
Franciscan order, and in 1257, aged 36, he was elected Minister
General of the Franciscans.
He was immediately landed with
two major conflicts - one was within the Order, between those who
thought it should be about Saint Francis' concept of mendicant
poverty and those who thought that corporate property ownership
was OK, indeed necessary - guess who won that one? The
other conflict concerned an obscure book written in 1200 by one
Joachim of Flora which was taken to mean that the Franciscans
were about to single-handedly save the world. This
predictably caused resentment among other groups that thought
that they should be part of this action .... the result being
Bonaventura's Decree of the Chapter of Narbonne, which imposed a
rigorous censorship on the Franciscan Order's publications.
those to suffer greatly was
Roger Bacon (1214 - 1292 (78)), who
probably came to deeply regret his earlier decision to become a Franciscan
when they were in their exploratory thinking mode!
In 1262 Bonaventura
completed writing an official (ie sanctioned by the Friars
Minor) "Life of Saint Francis" which became one of the most
widely disseminated texts of the later middle ages. An
earlier "life" by Thomas of Celano had already been written.
More books about Saint
Everyone agreed that Bonaventura was
the most saintly and humble of men (after Saint Francis), and he
is often referred to as the second founder of the Franciscans.
That's his (very posthumous) statue below right, outside the Bagnoregio Franciscan
Not many people standing on the observation platform overlooking Bagnoregio will know this story.