Semidouble (1955 Calendar): May 20
St. Bernardine of Siena was born on September 8, 1380, and lived a life of holiness. When the plague broke out in 1400 AD, St. Bernardine offered to care for the sick and would not stop until he became ill. In 1402 he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained a priest in 1404.
St. Bernardine was sent out to preach the Good News of Jesus, and his sermons drew thousands. He usually would focus on devotions to the Holy Name of Jesus. From these speeches, St. Bernardine decided to create a symbol of devotion to the Holy Name. The center features an abbreviated form of the Holy Name of Jesus surrounded by a blazing sun. This symbol soon spread throughout the region and charges of heresy were made against St. Bernardine. He was found innocent by Pope Martin V, who testified to the worthiness of St. Bernardine's life.
whoever knows my name I will set on high.
All who call upon me I will answer;
I will be with them in distress;
I will deliver them and give them honor.
With length of days, I will satisfy them
and show them my saving power."
St. Bernardine continued to serve the Gospel until he became ill in route to Naples, Italy in 1444. St. Bernardine was taken to the convent of St. Francesco where he died on the Vigil of the Feast of the Ascension. On May 24, 1450, six years after his death, Bernardine was canonized a saint.
Painting Source: El Greco
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst grant to blessed Bernardine, Thy Confessor, a surpassing love for Thy holy name: we beseech Thee, by his merits and intercession, graciously pour into our hearts the spirit of Thy love: who livest and reignest.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal