ST. BONAVENTURE The Book of Margery Kempe chapters 58 and 62

Very little is known about St. Bonaventure’s (1221-1274) origins. He was born in Italy to a humble family and sources indicate that Bonaventure was probably not his real name. He became a high ranking member of the religious order of Franciscans or Friars Minor which was founded by St. Francis of Assisi. Bonaventure believed that philosophy and religion needed to work together in order for the faithful to understand God. He stressed the need to perform acts of contemplation to expel sin from the body and become more receptive to God. His text of the life of Francis of 1260 (Legenda Maior) is a model of eloquence and passion. He used Francis as a model of how one can reach ecstatic knowledge of God through prayer.

Bonaventure also wrote a series of meditations of the Passion and a description of the stages of perfect charity, entitled De Triplici Via. However, he was not the author of Stimulus Amoris (The Prick of Love), that Margery mentions in chapters 17 and 58. A popular devotional text during the Middle Ages, The Prick of Love included reflections on the Passion of Christ that focus on feelings of compassion. It is a meditative poem. The book was often wrongly attributed to St. Bonaventure or Walter Hilton during the time of Margery Kempe, but scholars now believe it to have been written in the latter half of the 13th century by a Franciscan known only as James of Milan.

SOURCES Catholic Encyclopedia Online


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