Bartholomew, of Savigliano, Italy, entered the Dominican Order at an early age. He proved to be a brilliant ecclesiastical student, and soon earned a doctorate in Turin. He was thereafter chosen for the harrowing office of inquisitor for the Piedmont
region, which was a stronghold of the Waldensians, a heretical sect that denied papal authority, as well as the doctrine of purgatory. Before setting out for the Piedmont's city of Cervere, he predicted, "They call me Bartholomew
of Cervere, although I have never been in the place. But I am going there today as inquisitor, and there I shall die." As he approached the city, five heretics
ambushed him, running him through with two spears. He made no effort to defend himself, and died on the spot. Yet amazingly, no blood flowed from his wounds until the religious of his own friary had arrived to pray beside his body in Cervere's church, where it had been laid out. Here the blood began to flow in streams. Also, at the site of his martyrdom, a mysterious plant subsequently appeared, with cross-shaped leaves and branches.