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Bernard of Corleone, Bl.


Baptized Philip (Filippo) Latini; Capuchin lay brother; b. Corleone, Sicily, Feb. 6, 1605; d. Palermo, Sicily, January 12, 1667. Bernard was the third of six children born to Leonard and Frances (Xaxa) Latini, who owned a small vineyard. Bernard supported his widowed mother as a cobbler. He received no formal schooling but, in a town garrisoned by mercenaries employed by Spain, he learned swordsmanship so well that his name became a legend throughout Sicily. He wielded the sword, however, only in what he called "Christian" causes, especially the defense of women and poor peasants oppressed by the town's soldiers. His conversion to the religious life was occasioned when at the age of 27, he gravely wounded an adversary who had repeatedly provoked him to a duel. He entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Order at Caltanissetta, Dec. 13, 1632, as a lay brother. Although endowed with gifts of contemplation and miracles, Bernard is best remembered for heroic penance. His fasts and macerations recall the desert fathers. He is frequently pictured burning his mouth with a brand snatched from the kitchen fire, a penalty inflicted on himself for an unkind word to a confrere. Bernard was beatified by Clement XIII, April 29, 1768. On July 1, 2000 a miracle attributed to his intercession was approved, opening the way for his canonization.

Feast: Jan. 19.

Bibliography: d. da gangi, Dalla spada al cilicio: Profilo del beato Bernardo da Corleone (Tivoli 1934). b. von mehr, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 2:243. a. teetaert, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912) 8:647648. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 1:124. Lexicon Capuccinum (Rome 1951).

[t. macvicar]

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