May 20 - Saint Bernardine of Siena

Quick Facts
  • Friar Minor.
  • Priest.
  • Itinerent preacher.
  • Theological writer.
  • His preaching skills were so great, and the conversions so numerous, that he has become associated with all areas of speaking, advertising, public relations, etc.
  • Bernardino's charismatic preaching filled the piazze of Italian cities.
  • Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to participate in dramatic rituals, which included collective weeping, bonfires of vanities, and exorcisms.
  • He was a renowned peacemaker, in the Franciscan tradition, who tried to calm feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world of the Renaissance.
  • His preaching visits would often culminate in mass reconciliations, as listeners were persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of peace.
  • Bernardino was sensitive to the demands of secular life, and tried to negotiate between Christian ethics and a conflicting code of honor that stressed retaining face in a public world.
  • He argued that the catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious gossip, which led to insults, and, too often, vendetta by aggressive males.
  • His surprising allies in his peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the majority of his audience.