Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. When he grew up, he studied law at the university. But after a few years, he decided not to become a lawyer. Instead, at the age of twenty, Nicholas joined the Carthusian order.
When he was about thirty-five Nicholas was chosen to be bishop of his native diocese. He reluctantly agreed but could not believe it could be God's will. His superiors assured him it was.
People liked Bishop Nicholas. Like them, he lived in a small, plain house and he often visited the people of his diocese. He went to the poorest families first. He blessed their homes, talked with them and helped them with their needs. The people were very grateful.
This wise and holy Bishop was made a cardinal in 1426. He helped maintain peace between Pope Martin V and the emperor. He also acted as peacemaker between Pope Eugene IV and the French king. These popes asked him for advice about important Church matters.
Blessed Nicholas is named the patron of learning and he wrote many books to encourage people to learn about their faith. He died in 1443 while on a visit to Siena, Italy. Pope Eugene IV had his body brought back to Bologna. The pope himself participated in the funeral Mass and burial.