St. Bonaventure, known as the Seraphic Doctor, was born in Bagnoregio, Italy, in 1218. He entered the Franciscans at the age of 22, changing his name of John into Bonaventure, meaning Happy-Future. In Paris, where he was sent to complete his studies, he became a friend of St. Thomas Aquinas. When the latter asked him what was the source of his wisdom, he showed him a crucifix. He made his studies a continuation of prayer, and prayer a preparation for study. A remarkable cheerfulness always appeared on his face, confirming what he used to say: A spiritual joy is the greatest sign of the divine grace dwelling in the soul.
At the age of 35, Bonaventura was chosen General of the Franciscans and healed the division caused by the different interpretations of the vow of poverty. Thomas Aquinas, coming one day while Bonaventura was writing the biography of St. Francis, saw him through the door of his cell in contemplation. Going away he said: Let us leave a saint to work for a saint. In 1273, Pope Gregory X sent some delegates from Rome to appoint him a Cardinal. They found Bonaventura in a convent near Florence washing dishes. Not wanting to interrupt his work, he told them to hang the Cardinal’s hat and the other insignia on a tree for the time being. Bonaventura died in 1274 while attending the Second Council of Lyons. in France.