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Bernardino of Siena

1380-1444. Franciscan friar and reformer. Born of noble parents at Massa di Carrera, where his father was governor, he became a friar in 1402. Thereafter he preached for many years both inside and outside churches throughout Italy. He made use of the monogram IHS* and stressed devotion to the holy name of Jesus. He constantly attacked usury and the party strife of the Italian cities. His attitude toward Jews, however, did not rise above the prejudice of his day. His general example in life and preaching had a beneficial effect on the number of friars and the rigor of their discipline. In 1438 he was elected provincial of the Friars of the Strict Observance. He took part in the Council of Florence* when union with the Greek Church was debated. He died at Aquila in Abruzzi while on a preaching tour; he was canonized by Pope Nicholas in 1450. His works have been printed several times, latterly in 1950, and are composed of sermons and tracts on morals, asceticism, and mysticism.

See Life by I. Origo (1963).