St Bona of Pisa
Celebrated on May 29th
St Bona was born in Pisa in 1156. From an early age she experienced visions, particularly of St James. By the age of ten she had decided to dedicate herself to the Augustinian rule and by 14 had set off on her first journey to see her father, who was fighting in the Crusades near Jerusalem. On her way home she was captured by Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean, wounded and imprisoned. Some fellow Pisans rescued her and brought her home.
Bona wasn’t put off by those experiences. She soon set out again on a thousand mile pilgrimage to Compostella - this time leading a large group of pilgrims under the auspices of the Knights of St James.
She was to make the journey a further nine times, travelling mainly on foot. Bona was cheerful and adventurous: ‘full of energy, helpful and unselfish, ready to reassure with her smile those who were sick’ - according to a contemporary account.
She became ill while setting out on her tenth pilgrimage. Bona managed to reach her little room near the church of San Martino, and died on this day in 1207, aged 51. In 1962, she was canonized by Pope John XXIII.
She is a patron saint of travellers, couriers, tour guides and airline staff and has been adopted as a patron by several airlines.