Saint Bonaventura (Giovanni di Fidanza), a cardinal and doctor of the Roman church, born at Bagnarea in Tuscany in 1221, died in Lyons, July 15, 1274. He entered the order of St. Francis in 1248, studied in the university of Paris, was appointed professor of theology there in 1253, and in 1256 elected general of his order. He reconciled the differences among the cardinals on the death of Clement IV., and they chose Gregory X. on his advice in 1271. That pope made him bishop of Albano in 1273 and cardinal in 1274. He died during the session of the second council of Lyons, to which he had been sent as papal legate, and his funeral was attended by the supreme pontiff, accompanied by a brilliant retinue of cardinals and kings. He was canonized by Sixtus IV. in 1482, and declared by Sixtus V. in 1587 the sixth in rank among the great doctors of the church. The sublime and mystical thoughts which abound in his writings gained him the title of the seraphic doctor. The Franciscans regard him as one of their most learned theologians, and rank him with Thomas Aquinas. He is the patron saint of the city of Lyons, where he was buried.
His works include a commentary on the Magister Sententiarum of Peter Lombard, the two manuals of dogma called the Breviloquium and Centiloquium, the Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, the Reductio Artium in Theologiam, the Biblia Pauperum, a life of St. Francis, and various songs and devotional and exegetical treatises. They are of a strong mystical tendency, but fervent in spirit and practical in their teachings. They have been published at Kome (8 vols, fol., 1588-'96), Lyons (7 vols, fol., 1688), and Venice (14 vols. 4to, 1752-'6).