Filippo Latino, the son of a shoemaker in the town of Corleone, trained as a soldier and earned a reputation as the greatest swordman in Sicily. Equipped with a hot temper, he was evidently quick to draw his blade. This was the cause of his conversion.
One day, in a public altercation, he seriously wounded a policeman and fled to a nearby Capuchin friary to seek sanctuary. His refuge extended for a number of days, during which time he seriously examined his life. Eventually he resolved to enter the Capuchins as a lay brother and became known as Brother Bernard.
His zeal for prayer and for self-sacrifice were widely recognized, and he acquired a reputation for miracles – particularly his ability to heal animals. This generally followed his saying the Lord’s Prayer over the suffering creature, after which he would lead it three times around a cross in front of the friary. “How could I do otherwise?” he explained. The animals could not speak for themselves and had no doctors to attend to them.
Brother Bernard died on January 12, 1667. He was canonized in 2001.