St. Bonaventure is one of the major Franciscan saints. He was a scholar and a mystic, who was the first to theologically interpret the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Besides many scholarly works, he was able to write many inspiring works on prayer. He was born in 1217, in a small village in central Italy. In 1234, he attended the University of Paris, where he came in contact with the Franciscan Friars. He joined the Order in 1243, and would eventually head the Franciscan school at the University. He was known for his scholarship, but was always drawn to a life of prayer and the simplicity of St. Francis' life. In 1257, he was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order. With his guidance, the Order was able to grow as an institution within the Church, yet still remain faithful to the spirit of St. Francis. Many scholars consider him the second Founder of the Order. He passed away on July 15, 1274.
"In the beginning I call upon the First Beginning, from whom all illuminations descend as from the Father of Lights, from whom comes every good and every perfect gift.
I call upon the Eternal Father through his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that through the intercession of the most holy Virgin Mary, the mother of the same God and Lord Jesus Christ, and through the intercession of blessed Francis, our leader and father, he may enlighten the eyes of our soul to guide our feet in the way of that peace which surpasses all understanding.
This is the peace proclaimed and given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ and preached again and again by our father Francis." (Prologue, The Soul's Journey to God, St. Bonaventure)