Lives of the Saints: Saint Bernardino of Siena
Saint Bernardino of Siena Saint Bernardino, named Bernardino degli Albizzesehi at birth in 1380, was the son of the governor of Massa Marittima, Italy. He went to live with an aunt at seven years of age because his parents orphaned him. There, Bernardino developed a committed spiritual life. When he turned seventeen, he joined a society devoted to the Blessed Mother and shortly thereafter managed a hospital in Siena during a pandemic in 1400. In 1403 Bernardino associated with the Franciscans in Colombaio (Siena, Tuscany, Italy) and in 1404 was ordained. For twelve years Bernardino led a solitary life of prayer, before taking to travel across Italy and preaching the Word. Known for his perpetual joyful disposition and profound preaching skills, he drew large crowds and converted many to the faith. Following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, Bernardino vehemently preached against societal depravity, including paganism, witchcraft, and sorcery, infanticide and sodomy. Three times offered the rank of bishop and three times declining, Bernardino became vicar general of the Franciscans (Friars) of the Strict Observance. After serving in that role for over twelve years and increasing the numbers in the order 1000 fold, Bernardino resumed his preaching. He died on a preaching mission on May 12, 1444. Canonized in 1450, Saint Bernardino of Siena is the patron saint of respiratory problems, compulsive gambling and communications.