Friday, May 20, 2011

Despite a weak and hoarse voice, this saint preached to crowds of 30,000; he obtained miraculous conversions, cured lepers and resurrected dead persons

                 May 20 ------------ St. Bernadine of Siena

The great apostle in the 15th century, St. Vincent of Ferrer, suddenly interrupted his sermon to declare that there was someone in the audience who would be a greater preacher than himself.  That person was St. Bernadine of Siena, who began his preaching vocation with a weak and hoarse voice. 

This impediment did not hinder him from becoming one of the greatest preachers of all time.  Vigorously, he journeyed across Italy attacking paganism and attracting crowds of 30,000 or more to preach about "vice and virtue, punishment and glory." 

He had a keen understanding of the needs of the times and with holiness and and boundless energy accomplished much. After some time, Our Lady chose to miraculously cure his voice problems so that he could continue preaching until his death.  He also obtained miraculous conversions, reforming a great part of Italy, cured lepers and raised to life several dead persons.

When he spoke in Italian, Greeks understood.  When he spoke about Our Lady, a brilliant star appeared over his head. He inaugurated the symbol of "IHS" in honor of his special devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

With all of these wonders came many personal persecutions. St. Bernadine was denounced as a heretic and his devotion was called idolatrous only to be exonerated in his later life.  He died in 1444 after preaching every day for 18 years.

All that St. Bernadine achieved could be attributed to his great love for Our Lady.  Often he would speak to her as a child speaks to his mother and she kept him pure and chaste. He had a very special devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary later writing that she was " a fiery furnace of Holy Love."

Let us ask St. Bernadine to impart to us some of his devotion to the Blessed Virgin with the hope that we can be resolved as St. Bernadine to follow where she will guide us.

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