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Realino, Bernardine, St.


Jesuit humanist, patron of Lecce; b. Carpi (near Modena), Italy, Dec. 1, 1530; d. Lecce, Apulia, Italy, July 2, 1616. Realino studied at nearby Modena and at the University of Bologna, where he was made a doctor in utroque jure in 1556. Because of an argument during which he had wounded an adversary, Bernardino was forced to make his career elsewhere, and he went in 1556 to Milan. The governor, Cardinal Cristofero madruzzo, appointed him to the first of several minor mayoralties and fiscal posts. In May 1564 the Marquis of Pescara brought Realino to Naples to supervise some of his holdings. He was admitted into the Society of Jesus by Alphonso Salmerón and made his novitiate at the Jesuit college in Naples. In 1567 he was ordained and shortly afterward was appointed master of novices by (St.) Francis borgia, general of the Jesuits. In 1574 Realino was assigned to Lecce. Here he remained for 42 years, founding a college and building a noble baroque church. Direction of souls soon became his chief occupation, and his winning charity and compassionate skill in the confessional earned him a reputation for sanctity. A sodality for priests, which he inaugurated, seems to have been the first of its kind under Jesuit auspices. Numerous miraculous cures and prophecies were attributed to him, and several visions of the Blessed Virgin and of Jesus crucified. The Bollandists refer to him as notae sanctitatis thaumaturgus. On his deathbed, at the petition of the mayor and council of Lecce, he agreed to be the city's protector in heaven. He was beatified by Leo XIII and canonized June 22, 1947, by Pius XII. In his youth Bernardino was a prolific writer, mainly on the classics, and wrote verses even in the last years of his life. At 21 he had published a commentary on a poem of Catullus, In nuptias Pelei et Thetidis catullianas commentarius (Bologna 1551). Although on becoming a Jesuit he destroyed all the copies he could find, at least 22 survive in the great libraries of the world.

Feast: July 2 (Jesuits).

Bibliography: b. de realino, Lettere spirituali inedita , ed. g. boero (Naples 1854). g. germier, San Bernardino Realino (Florence 1943). f. sweeney, Bernardine Realino: Renaissance Man (New York 1951); Every Man My Brother (Boston 1976). j.n. tylenda, Jesuit Saints & Martyrs (Chicago 1998) 19597. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 3:1314. Acta Apostolicae Sedis 39 (Rome 1947) 249253, 391398. c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932; v. 12 suppl. 1960) 6:155456.

[f. sweeney]

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