“Quiet,” they said, “Bernardine is coming.”
Bernardine of Siena was born born on September 8, 1380, in the town of Massa, a dependency of Siena, where his father was the governor.
At the age of 7, he lost both his parents. But he was taken into the care of devout relatives who raised him in the fear of God.
Bernardine loved purity above all the virtues. His love for the virtue was so great that while he attended the secondary school in Siena, he could not hear an unbecoming word without blushing for shame, so that those who spoken it themselves blushed. When any indecent conversation was going on among his companions, they stopped as soon as they saw him coming. “Quiet,” they said, “Bernardine is coming.”
While the holy youth was otherwise very meek, he was friendly to all, he could nevertheless grow extremely angry if decency was violated. A prominent citizen once purposely told him something indecent in the open market place. Bernardine gave him a resounding slap in the face, and amid the laughter of the bystanders the disgraced citizen had to withdraw.
With his great love for purity, Bernardine united a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin, whom he used to call his beloved.
After he made his profession as a Franciscan and was ordained a priest and appointed to preach. However, his voice was weak and hoarse which made seem ill-fitted for the office of a preacher. But at the Blessed Virgin’s intercession, his voice suddenly became so powerful and melodious that he became one of the most distinguished missionaries.
He, then, journeyed all over Italy in order to announce to the people the virtues and vices, and the reward of the former and punishment of the latter. In many places such depravity existed that he found it necessary to preach sermons which he himself called sermons for heathens. The effects, however, were so astounding that Pope Pius II compared him with the Apostle of the Gentiles and called him a second Paul. The penitents flocked to confession, and in several cities the reforms urged by the saint were embodied in the laws under the name of Riformazioni di frate Bernardino (Reformation of Brother Bernardine).