St. Bonaventura, a native of Tuscany, was born Giovanni di Fidanza in 1221. He entered the Franciscan order about 1242 and in the short space of fifteen years rose to be seventh general of that order. Professor of theology at the University of Paris, Bishop of Albano, and created a cardinal by Gregory X shortly before his death in 1274, he was widely venerated during his lifetime and is mentioned as a saint in Dante’s Paradiso. He was canonized in 1482 by Sixtus IV and a little over a century later declared a doctor of the church by Sixtus V.
He has usually been known as the Seraphic Donor, probably because of his mysticism and constant preoccupation with the vision of the Seraph which is described in the Prologue to “The Mind’s Road to God.”