Blessed Bernard of Offida

Capuchin Lay Brother

We are told that Bernard was born of devout parents who trained their children to have a great reverence of God.

Bernard entered the Capuchin Order at Corinaldo in 1626, when he was twenty two. For seven years, he worked in the kitchen under Br Maximus who was himself a better spiritual director than he was a cook. Bernard became a lay brother in the way that was to lead him to sanctity.

Bernard's faith in his calling and in religious life deepened over the years. He knew from experience that "the just man lives by faith". It was this same faith that taught Bernard to prize Catholicity and to respond to the demands of each day in true Capuchin style. Bernard loved to immerse himself in the Sacred Scriptures and other spiritual readings. Our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist was the source of his spiritual devotion, indeed, he often found it impossible to stifle the cries of joy he sang out when in the presence of Jesus. He spent many hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and on numerous occasions, friars witnessed Bernard raised from the ground with his face shining like the sun.

Bernard's faith was rewarded with spiritual favours not only for himself but for many others as well. Many Capuchin theologians came to Bernard seeking solutions to difficult questions.

Bernard is also credited with the raising of four children from the dead and once, when all the roads were snow bound, food was sent to the friary due to his fervent prayers.

The Cross also was a reality in the daily life of Blessed Bernard. His fasting was almost continual. He also scourged himself frequently and at the age of seventy two, Bernard received the Stigmata. For the remaining twenty years of his earthly life, he stood like a giant before the world with the Holy Seals of Christ's sufferings, witnessing to the indescribable love of God for erring humanity.

Blessed Bernard died in 1694, a model of Faith, Hope and Love. He was beatified by Pope Pius VI and his feast is celebrated on the 1st September.