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BERNARD OF BESSE

An early Franciscan chronicler; fl. in France c. 1283. Little is known of his life beyond the fact that he was a member of the Franciscan custody of Cahors in the Province of Aquitaine and was a secretary of the Minister General, bonaventure. In January 1250 he was probably residing at the convent of Limoges. His writings include a lost Life of Brother Christopher of Romagna, who died at Cahors in 1272, inserted in the Chronicle of the 24 Generals [Analecta Franciscana 3 (1897) 161173]; the Speculum disciplinae, called also Libellus de proposito regulae, intended for the formation of novices (Quaracchi, S. Bonaventurae opera omnia 8:583622); a letter, Ad quendam novitium insolentem et instabilem (ibid. 663666); De laudibus b. Francisci [Analecta Franciscana 3 (1897) 666679, 687692]; De triplici statu religionis b. Francisci (ibid. 679687); and a Catalogus generalium ministrorum OFM (ibid. 693707; Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 32:657674), ending with Bonagratia Tielci (1283). Moderation and zeal characterize all his writings; the ascetical worksintended for the youngcontain practical advice useful even for non-Franciscans. The prologue of the De laudibus discusses the biographers of St. francis (not mentioning Brother Leo of Assisi, however); the first chapter is the oldest Franciscan hagiographic catalogue. It should be noted that in certain chapters Bernard drew inspiration not only from thomas of celano but also from the Anonymus Perusinus.

Bibliography: Chronica XXIV generalium O.F.M., Analecta Franciscana 3 (1897) 161, 225, 228, 241, 262, 349, 361, 377. marian de florence, Compendium chronicarum Fratrum Minorum, Archivum Franciscanum historicum 2 (1909) 463; 4 (1911) 569. j. de dieu, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 1:150405. a. van den wyngaert, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 8:594595.

[j. campbell]

Bernard of Besse

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