Bernard of Quintavalle was one of the wealthiest young men of Assisi, and became intrigued by stories of Francis, who once known for his frivolity and party-going, took on a life of poverty and simplicity. In reflecting on the conversation Bernard had with Francis, when he hosted a dinner for Francis, he decided to follow Francis, inspired by the gospel texts “if you wish to be perfect, go sell all you own and give to the poor”, and “take nothing for your journey”
Bernard disposed of his property, and adopted Francis’ way of life, and became one of Francis’s trusted companions, accompanying Francis on his many journeys, throughout Italy. He established a friary in Bologna and undertook a special mission to the shrine of Santiago de Compostola in Spain.
When Francis was approaching death, Bernard was at his side. Francis called out “where is my first-born son?” Francis then bestowed on him a special blessing, and appointed Bernard to “be head of all the brothers.” Earlier Francis said of Bernard, “he is worthy of all reverence, and that he founded the order, because he was the first who had left the world, and joined me in preaching the gospel.”
He died in 1245 and he was buried in the right transept of the lower church, beside the tomb of St Francis.
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Take nothing for your journey