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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saint Bernardine of Siena

Bernardine carries the symbol of Jesus
As Bernardine traveled, so did the Holy Name of Jesus. Everywhere he went, he persuaded the dignitaries of the different cities to take down the emblems of the warring factions from their buildings - their churches and palaces - and instead place on them the Holy Name of Jesus. And till today, you can see the initials IHS - the Holy Name of Jesus on all the buildings in Siena and Florence, just to mention a few.
This symbol became his vanguard, as he paved the way for devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His preaching on the Holy Name of Jesus was so potent and caught on so quickly, he was asked to speak in city after city. When he spoke, he held a plaque with the emblem of the Holy Name of Jesus on it, in front of him; and with the passion of He, Whom it represented, Bernardine moved the hearts of everyone in the audience to desire the emblem. Soon the emblem was clamored for, to place not only on the outside of buildings, churches and etc., but on homes.
Now, there was a craftsman, in Bologna, Italy, who painted playing cards. Bernardine's sermons against gambling caused him to lose his primary income. He was furious! But his anger soon turned to joy, as Bernardine persuaded him to paint the emblems IHS[1] on plaques. In place of his earlier pursuit of creating cards, that were instruments of temptation, he now was painting day after day, the emblem of the Holy Name of Jesus, consequently becoming an instrument, bringing the Lord's presence into the midst of a worldliness that would blot Him out. These powerful signs of hope and love spread and spread. And then because God is so generous to those who honor Him, with the huge demand for the plaques, the craftsman soon recouped his original assets and then some.
[1] The letters IHS form the monogram of His Holy Name; they are derived from the Greek six-letter word for Jesus, thus the first three letters are: Iota, Eta, Sigma, so the monogram should not be used with periods after the letters.
For more information about Saint Bernardine of Siena and our book, Saints Maligned, Misunderstood and Mistreated click here

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