Blessed Luchesio and Buonadonna

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Stained Glass from Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery in Washington DC Luchesio and Buonadonna with St. Francis photo from Wikimedia Commons

Franciscan Tertiaries (d. 1260)  

This married couple lived in the Italian town of Poggibonsi, where Luchesio worked as a merchant and moneylender. His life was not marked by any special motive beyond making money. Sometime in his thirties, however, a change came over him, prompted perhaps by the death of his children. He gave up his business and distributed his wealth, keeping only a small plot of land to farm. He and his wife, Buonadonna, began to serve the sick and poor, sharing their food with those less fortunate and entrusting themselves to Providence.  

At this point, St. Francis of Assisi happened to visit their town on one of his preaching tours. The couple were taken by his message and asked him if there was not some way for them to follow his path without separating and entering religious life. Francis had longed to establish a Third Order in the Franciscan family for laypeople living in the world. He happily clothed Luchesio and Buonadonna in the plain habit and cord of the order. By tradition they became the first Franciscan tertiaries.  

The couple lived on for many years. As Luchesio approached the end of his life, Buonadonna prayed that they might not be separated by death. Her prayer was answered; both husband and wife died on April 28, 1260.  

Luchesio was later officially beatified, though Buonadonna was also remembered, at least locally, as blessed.  

“Implore God, who gave us to each other as companions in life, to permit us also to die together.” —Blessed Buonadonna 

© Liturgical Press.

Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books and the author of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time; Blessed Among All Women; and The Saints' Guide to Happiness.

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