Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 20 | Energy (Pt. 1)

Saint Bernardine of Siena

A.D. 1380–1444

Time is not your most valuable resource. Energy is your most valuable resource. And energy management is the path to a full life.

Your experience of life expands with the more energy you have. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, but not everyone has the same level of energy. We all know people who seem to squeeze whole lifetimes into a summer. How do they do it? Is it because they are so good at managing time? More likely, it is because they have more energy than most people. It is not the lazy and the tired who squeeze whole lifetimes into a summer but, rather, men and women who are overflowing with energy and enthusiasm for life.

Saint Bernardine of Siena was overflowing with energy and enthusiasm for life. So much so that the pope compared him to Saint Paul (see the January 25 entry on enthusiasm).

At age 20, Bernardine managed the hospital of Siena as a plague ravaged Italy. Dozens were dying each day, but Bernardine cared for them one by one. Eventually he became sick as well, but recovered and devoted the next year to taking care of his elderly aunt. His illness permanently weakened his voice, but he didn’t let that stop him from preaching later in life. 

Two years later, he joined the Franciscans. After a rigorous life of prayer and solitude, he set out on the road as a traveling preacher. He quickly became known as Italy’s greatest speaker, and drew massive crowds—all without a microphone or strong voice. He did this for 30 years. 

To promote devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernadine crafted the IHS monogram. These are the Latin initials of Jesus displayed in front of a blazing sun. For this devotion to the Holy Name, Bernadine was summoned to a trial in Rome on charges of heresy. After a vigorous defense, he was cleared, and proceeded to preach for eighty days straight.

Eventually, Bernadine was appointed to the highest position of his Franciscan Order, the Cistercians (also known as the Trappists). Even then he didn’t stop preaching. Saint Bernardine of Siena died at the age of 63, while traveling to spread the Gospel.

How did Saint Bernardine get the energy to accomplish all this? He knew what energized him. He filled his life with prayer, silence, meaningful work, and selfless service in order to make the most of the time he was given.

In a future reflection, we’ll dive deeper into sources of energy that elevate our lives. For now, ponder this question:

What gives you energy?


Energy is my most valuable resource.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Hoarseness, Chest Problems, Respiratory Problems, Lung Problems, Lungs, Advertisers, Advertising, Communications Personnel, Gambling Addicts

Feast Day: May 20

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Aurea

Canonized: May 24, 1450

Canonized By: Pope Nicholas V

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