A strong and modern Saint

    The face and the posture of Bernardino degli Albizzeschi (born in 1380 and dead in 1444) are a no-tell. Leant faced, not beautiful, but nice, barefooted, thin lips, dressed only with his monk's habit, and in his hands the name of Jesus. The features of Bernardino are well known, due to the many portraits that we have. But what was the inside feature of St. Bernardino? He was without excesses and did not fear of talking about his limits, patient with the good will people, hard against the vice. His voice is known due to its power. He lived on the roads, where he found people bringing to Christ. He comes back to the monastery only to pray and study. He soon lost his parents, but he was known for his intelligence and generosity. At 20 he left studies to dedicate himself to help plague-stricken people in his town's hospital. After a while, he gave all his properties to poor people to follow a religious life. At 22 he became a novice in the monastery of Colombano sull'Amiata, at 24 he was a priest. After a short period of Franciscan studies, he became a travelling priest, just like Jesus and Apostles and like Francis wanted his fryers to do. In 1417 he preached an important sermon in Genoa, and many others were to come in the following years in central and northern Italy.


    Bernardino was fantasising about a United Italy. He thought that a religious symbol could be helpful to gather all the people of Italy. He ordered to draw with gold the letters JHS (Jesus) with many rays in the middle of little pieces of wood. This helped to make the cult of The Name of Jesus propagate in the many cities in which he and his brothers preached, listened by a lot of people. He was claimed to be Italy's most popular preacher, and even if ill and weak, he never stopped preaching for his people. In May, 1444 he left Siena to go to L'Aquila. His wish was to arrive to Naples's Kingdom to bring there the cult of the word of our Lord. When he arrived in L'Aquila, the doors of another Kingdom had been opened for him: he died in a little bed, in the Monastery of St. Franciscus,L'Aquila, on May, 20, 1444. He was 64


    The parish church was built in 1472 and it was dedicated to St. Bernardino, maybe under suggestion of the friars of the Monastery of Porziuncola, where the Saint lived for a while. We recall that Bernardino was declared "Saint" in 1450 by Pope Nicoḷ V. We have to keep in mind that at that time and until 1850 the parish of Porziuncola was under Tordandrea, and thus it came straightforward to dedicate the territorial parish to an important person: Bernardino of Siena. Tordandrea still have two bells (one of 1575 and the other of 1609) with the symbols of Bernardino's tradition. There exists the Saint's relic and a confraternity with his name. The picture above the altar is very important: St. Bernardino is depicted knelt in front of the scene of the presentation of Jesus. This picture belongs to Pinturicchio's school, and it has been radically restored.