Giovanni (John) de Banchini was born in Florence, Italy in the late 1300s and grew up near the Convent of Santa Maria Novella. Having known the Dominicans for his entire life, John petitioned to join the Order of Preachers at the age of 17, despite a speech impediment and little education. Eventually he was allowed to join the friars and studied in Pisa and Florence before receiving a degree from the University of Paris.
As a priest, John was appointed Vicar-Provincial in Rome, serving under Blessed Raymond of Capua, who was Master General at the time. From there he helped reform the Order by establishing priories and houses committed to regular observance in Fabriano, Fiesole, and Venice. He also restored communities that had been decimated by the Plague.
In 1408 John was consecrated Archbishop of Ragusa, after which he convinced Pope Gregory XII to call the Council of Constance. He later served as a legate to Hungary and Bohemia for Pope Martin V, trying to end the Hussite Schism.
In addition to his treatise on Christian education, John is well known for his incredible memory and his zealous preaching, which attracted Guido di Pietro (Bl. Fra Angelico) and Antonio Pierozzi (St. Antoninus) to the Dominicans.
John died on June 10, 1419 in Buda, and was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1837.