St. Bernardine of Sienna

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Bernardine of Sienna. St. Bernardine was born just 10 years after the great Catherine of Sienna in 1380. As a youth, he was a good boy from the start. He was often found trying to help other children to be good.
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One day, for example, after the annual procession in honor of the Blessed Mother, he heard a call for help – a boy was being treated badly by bullies out in the street, so he ran to help, but soon they had overpowered him. He prayed to the Blessed Mother; the prayer was no sooner said than answered: his friends came to his aid. Immediately he took those friends to the Church, and led them in prayer before the image of Mary.  ‘He will be a special boy,’ said one of the bystanders.
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Some days later, a man came down with the Bubonic Plague, and fell down in the street. Risking his own life, Bernardine carried the man covered with sores to the hospital. Soon the plague spread throughout the region. Bernardine was everywhere, helping person after person, and assisting the sick. He did not care if he caught the plague. Most people fled the town, leaving few behind to care for the sick. So he gathered together other boys, and they decided: we will risk our lives in God’s honor and help the sick. And so they stayed.
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When the plague ended, Bernardine made the decision, at age 22, to become a Franciscan. The Franciscans asked him to go out and preach the gospel; And so St. Bernardine became a powerful preaching force all over Italy. He persuaded many to give up their lives of vanity and waste, and to embrace the simplicity of the Gospel; wherever he went, he was like a flame of love that brought peace to families.
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One day he was preaching about Mother Mary; he was saying, ‘Mary is as pure and precious as a star of heaven’ – as he said this, the crowed shouted, ‘look in the sky! and sure enough, in broad daylight, a brilliant star appeared in the sky.
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Saint Bernardine of Sienna is well-known for his wonderful love of the Blessed Virgin and also he is known for urging everyone to honor the Holy Name of Jesus. Because of St. Bernardine, IHS, the symbol of Jesus’ Name, is found in many places. He said, ‘The Name of Jesus is a sign that shows how much God has done for the love of us.’
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St. Bernardine is the patron saint of gambling addicts, and of any kind of respiratory illness.

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