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 found in the writings of Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, and had been generally introduced into Christian Latin literature by Ambrose of Milan in the era of 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, and used it advantageously in his preacting and his writings..
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 (house of studies) 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. This is confirmed also by the testimony of William Flete O.S.A., a hermit at Lecceto who in a letter sent to his Provincial in England in 1380 to assure him that the new Prior General was a decided promoter of the Augustinian observantine movement. However, Bonaventure’s time as Prior General ended after only fifteen months. This was because he was listed among the twenty-nine new cardinals created by Pope Urban VI in September 1378 to replace the thirteen cardinals who shortly before abandoned the Pope Urban and paved the way for the Great Western Schism. He was named cardinal-priest of Saint Caecilia - the first member of the Order of St Augustine to be made a cardinal.
As a cardinal, he acted for Pope Urban VI. For this reason, Bonaventure of Peraga shared the responsibility for organizing theological studies at the University of Bologna. In this connection it should be added that in the register of the University of Bologna, comprising the period from 1364 to 1500 and containing the names of the nine new founders, the 447 Doctors of the University, and fifty scholars who had received their doctors degrees at Paris or some other university but had been incorporated with the studium generale Bononiense, Bonaventura is listed as follows: "Magister Bonaventura de Padua of the Order of Hermits, as much a man of divine literature as he is a distinguished doctor of secular literature.”
With the exception of another Augustinian, Magister Andreas de Mediolano, to whose name a later hand has added "a man most expert in the Greek language," none of the remaining 504 magistri was found worthy of similar epithetical praise'. Fifteen years later Bonaventure had to engage himself anew in the same kind of task. Named cardinal in 1378 by Urban VI, he was one of the three cardinals chosen by the same pope to adapt the already mentioned statutes of BoIogna to the other universities of ltaly. The other cardinals involved were the Dominican Nicholas Caracciolo and the Franciscan Thomas of Frignano. They were entrusted with this task because the Great Western Schism in that same year had eliminated the University of Paris as a suitable place of study for students and teachers of the Roman obedience. The work of the three cardinals was completed around 1380.
Bonaventure’s martyrdom appears to be simply a legend. He always strongly defended the rights of the Church, and this brought him into conflict with his kinsman, Francis, Prince of Carrara, who was the ruler of Padua. The legend proposes that, when crossing the Tiber via the bridge of Sant’Angelo to visit the Vatican, he was struck by an arrow. The Prince of Carrara was said to have been responsible. A serious problem is that Bonaventure’s reputed death by arrow was never mentioned during the hundred years after his death, but only surfaced in 1494. In fact, in 1393, the new ruler of Padua, who was the son of the supposed assassin, was definitely one of the benefactors of the Augustinian Order.
Bonaventura Baduario. A biography written in Italian. http://web.tiscali.it/ghirardacci1/baduario/baduario.htm and http://www.cassiciaco.it/navigazione/monachesimo/monaci/teologi/bonaventura.html
Panoramic images of Bologna. Vestiges of medieval Bologna still remain to be seen.http://www.fayeandsteve.com/Bologna.htm AN4311