Bonaventure Baron, O.F.M. (christened "Bartholomew") (1610 – 18 March 1696) was a distinguished Irish Franciscan friar who was a noted theologian, philosopher, teacher and writer of Latin prose and verse.
He was born at Clonmel in County Tipperary, and died at Rome. His mother was a sister of the well-known Franciscan Luke Wadding, and his brother Geoffrey Baron acted for the Irish Confederates in their negotiations with the continental rulers. He himself joined the Franciscan community of Clonmel, pursued his studies in philosophy at the University of Leuven in Flanders.
Afterwards he proceeded to Rome, where he took up his residence in the Irish College of St. Isidore founded by his uncle, Father Wadding. Here, on the completion of his theological course, he was appointed professor and devoted himself specially to a defense of the Scotist system then generally assailed. During his stay in Rome he published numerous works on theology, philosophy and history, all listed below. Ordained in 1634, he took the religious name Bonaventure.
About the year 1651 he left Rome, owing, it is said, to some difficulty with the Master of the Sacred Palace, and went first to a house of his Order at Schwaz in Tyrol, and then to Salzburg, where he was kindly received by Archbishop Guidobald. He was sent as commissary into Habsburg Hungary (about 1656), was again in Schwaz (1661), went to Paris, taught for some time at Würzburg, where he published a volume of his "Opuscula" (1668), taught theology at Lyon in southern France and finally returned to Italy. It is said that representations were made to secure his appointment to the Archbishopric of Cashel, but that he declined the office. He was appointed historiographer in 1676 by Cosmo I de' Medici, Grand-duke of Tuscany and was elected a member of the Academy of Florence.
He died on 18 March 1696, and was buried at St. Isidore in Rome, where his tomb with the inscription, written by John de Burgo, a rector of the college, still exists.
Two contemporary oil paintings of him have come down to us: one is in the Franciscan friary in Clonmel, the other in a Franciscan friary in Dublin. There is also a fresco of Bonaventure in the aula of St. Isidore's College in Rome.
His principal works are:
- "Panegyrici Sacroprophani" (Rome, 1643; Lyon, 1656)
- "Obsidio et expugnatio Arcis Duncannon sub Thoma Preston"
- "Praelusiones Philosophicae" (Rome, 1651; Lyon, 1661); "Boetius Absolutus" (Rome, 1653)
- "Scotus defensus et amplificatus" (3 volumes, Cologne, 1664)
- "Cursus Theologicus" (6 volumes, 1670)
- "Opuscula" (4 volumes of 'small works', 1666-71)
- "Annales Ordinis Sanctae Trinitatis pro redemptione captivorum ab anno 1198 usque ad annum 1297" (Rome, 1864), his last work, a history of the Order for Redemption of Captives (Trinitarians), from 1198 till 1297.
- Webb, Alfred (1878). " Baron, Bonaventure". A Compendium of Irish Biography. Dublin: M. H. Gill & son. Wikisource