Bonaventure Baduario was born at Peraga near Padua, Italy in 1332; he is sometimes called Bonaventure of Peraga.
He was successively an early inaugural theological figure at the University of Bologna, Prior General of the Order, and the first Augustinian to be made a cardinal of the church. A century after his death there arose an unsubstantiated legend that he had been assassinated by an arrow fired at him; because of this improbable suggestion, some traditionalist web sites list Bonaventure as a martyr and as a “Blessed” even today.
Based on the unfounded premise that he was assassinated for upholding the position of the Pope, he also was popularly called a martyr in his home region and within the Augustinian Order for many years, but the circumstances of his death have never been clearly established. Even the year of his death is listed variously from 1385 through to 1398.
He had a brother (possibly a step brother), Bonsemblante Baduario, who also became an Augustinian. Two letters of Petrarch to Bonaventura are preserved in the poet's Correspondence in Old Age. The latter is concerned with the sudden death of Bonsemblante Baduario, who was a friend of Petrarch.
This Epistola consolatoria ad Bonauenturam eremitarm super morte fratris ("The letter of consolation to Bonaventure on the death of his brother") can have been written only to a man who was familiar with the consolatio, a literary form which is known to us from the writings of Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, and had been generally introduced into Christian Latin literature by St Ambrose of Milan in the era of St Augustine of Hippo. Referring to both Baduario brothers, the poet wrote:
"Blessed were the parents who brought forth two such men. Blessed is Padua where you were born and brought up! For there is nothing which makes any country so happy as the virtue and glory of its citizens. Therefore in Vergil, Rome, although rich in resources and power, is nevertheless said to be happy for no other thing than for the sons of men. Blessed finally is the Order of Hermits in which having been taught and instructed, you have come to this peak of learning; this glory."
Petrarch praised the teaching and virtue of both Baduario brothers. He called them "luminaries" of the Order and "precious twin ornaments of Padua". When Petrarch died in 1374, Bonaventure Baduario delivered the funeral oration over the poet's tomb. It was only edited for the first time in the Biblioteca Pettarciesca by Antonio Mars at Milan in 1826.
Bonaventure began his studies in Padua, finishing them with the Order in Paris with a doctorate in theology around the year 1360. He wrote a number of theological treatises, and Commentaries upon the Epistles of St John, St James, Lives of the Saints, Sermons, &c. He had a wide knowledge of literature.
In 1364 his name appears as one of the founders of the theological faculty in Bologna. In the decade from 1367 to 1377 he taught in the Augustinian studium at Padua. At the General Chapter of Verona in 1377, he was elected Prior General of the Order. His administration promised to continue the direction set by his immediate predecessor, as the Acts of the Chapter of 1377 clearly indicated.
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Photos (at right):
Picture 1: Bonaventure Baduario depicted in a fresco.
Picture 2: A santini ("holy card") of Bonaventure Baduario