1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bernardin of Siena, St

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BERNARDIN OF SIENA, ST (1380–1444), Franciscan friar and preacher, was born of a noble family in 1380. His parents died in his childhood, and on the completion of his education he spent some years in the service of the sick in the hospitals, and thus caught the plague, of which he nearly died. In 1402 he entered the Franciscan order in the strict branch called Observant, of which he became one of the chief promoters (see Franciscans). Shortly after his profession the work of preaching was laid upon him, and for more than thirty years he preached with wonderful effect all over Italy, and played a great part in the religious revival of the beginning of the 15th century. In 1437 he became vicar-general of the Observant branch of the Franciscans. He refused three bishoprics. He died in 1444 at Aquila in the Abruzzi, and was canonized in 1450.

The first edition of his works, for the most part elaborate sermons, was printed at Lyons in 1501; later ones in 1636, 1650 and 1745. His Life will be found in the Bollandists and in Lives of the Saints on the 20th of May: a good modern biography has been written by Paul Thureau-Dangin (1896), and translated into English by Gertrude von Hügel (1906).  (E. C. B.)