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June 13

St Anthony of Padua - June 13 by El Greco painting 1580 showing image of Christ child child on the page

Saint Anthony of Padua

Priest, Wonder Worker

Doctor of the Church

(1195 – 1231)

Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.

Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life

He was born as Fernando Martins de Bulhões was born in Lisbon, Portugal on August 15, 1195. His wealthy parents were Vicente Martins and Teresa Pais Taveira who arranged for him to be instructed at the local cathedral school. 

In 1210 at the age of 15, Fernando entered the Augustinian community at the Abbey of Saint Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon. In 1212, distracted by frequent visits from family and friends, he asked to be transferred to the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, then the capital of Portugal. For a period of eight years, the young Fernando studied theology and Latin and devoted himself to prayer. 

His Life as a Franciscan Friar

Fernando was ordained a priest in Coimbra in 1220. While he was in Coimbra, some Franciscan friars arrived and settled at a small hermitage outside Coimbra dedicated to Anthony the Great. Fernando was strongly attracted to the simple, evangelical lifestyle of the friars, whose order had been founded only 11 years prior. News arrived that five Franciscans had been beheaded in Morocco, the first of their order to be killed.

Inspired to become a missionary and eager for martyrdom, Fernando obtained permission from church authorities to leave the Canons Regular to join the new Franciscan order. At the age of 26, he received the Franciscan habit in the chapel of St. Anthony of Olivares, near Coimbra. He adopted the name Anthony, after St. Anthony the Great. Anthony had barely set foot on African soil in Morocco, when he became seriously ill. In his return towards Portugal, his ship ran into storms and heavy winds. Getting blown east across the Mediterranean, months later he landed in Sicily.

There, Anthony was given shelter by the Franciscans of that island, who nursed him back to health. Shortly afterward, he traveled to Assisi to attend the Order’s Chapter meeting with their founder, St. Francis of Assisi.  As the chapter broke up, Anthony was basically ignored by just about everyone.  However, one provincial from northern Italy, noticed him and sent him to a small hermitage, where he lived a simple life, performing menial tasks, such as gardening, cleaning, setting tables and washing dishes.

Hidden Gifts Displayed

Anthony and other members of his community were sent to the town of Forli for the ordination ceremony of some Dominicans and Franciscans.  However, the priest who was to give the homily had become ill, and Anthony’s superior selected him to preach, encouraging him to speak whatever the Holy Spirit put in his mouth.  Anthony humbly objected, but was overruled.  

Anthony spoke with such eloquence that his audience was amazed and he was assigned to preach throughout northern Italy. St. Francis of Assisi himself appointed Anthony to teach theology, “but in such a manner,” St. Francis distinctly wrote, “that the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the other brethren.”  A contemplative at heart, Anthony consistently spent long hours in prayer prior to preaching and teaching.

“Wonder Worker” 

Anthony was called the “Wonder Worker” for his many reported miracles. He preached to crowds in the rain, but his audiences remained dry despite the downpour.

The number of those who came to hear him was so large that no church was big enough to hold them, so he had to preach in the open air. He was so zealous in defending the truths of the Catholic Faith that many heretics were converted. This prompted the epitaph given him by Pope Gregory IX the “Ark of the Covenant.”

Once a man, who provided him shelter in his home, came upon St. Anthony and found him holding in his arms the Child Jesus, extraordinarily beautiful and encircled in heavenly light. For this reason, St. Anthony is often depicted in art holding the Child Jesus.

In 1227, Anthony was elected Minister Provincial of the friars living in northern Italy, yet, as always, he made the time for contemplative prayer.

The “Finder of Lost Items”

St. Anthony is invoked as the patron saint of lost things.  A little jingle goes like this: “St. Anthony, please look around; something is lost and must be found.”  The reason for invoking St. Anthony’s help in finding lost or stolen items is traced back to an incident in his own life. 

As the story goes, he had a favorite book of psalms that was very valuable to him.  As this was before the invention of printing, the book was a hand-printed book – but of even more value were his personal notes and the comments he had made in the Psalter to assist with teaching students in the Franciscan order. 

It was suspected that a novice leaving the community had stolen the Psalter.  Anthony prayed for the return of his beloved possession.  Shortly after, the novice returned the book and sought Anthony’s forgiveness, which was given. However, many suggest he is more importantly the patron of lost souls – those who have fallen to mortal sin, have abandoned the Church, and have grown apathetic to the practice of the faith.

Life in Padua, Italy

In 1230, he moved to Padua, a monastery he helped establish and where he would spend his remaining life.  Besides preaching, he organized relief for the poor, the abolition of debtors prisons, and the release of prisoners captured in the wars between city-states.

Preacher

Nevertheless, St. Anthony was most known for his eloquent and compelling preaching.  St. Anthony exhorted the faithful to conversion, laity and clergy alike.  He preached against the vices of luxury, avarice, and tyranny.  At a time of fighting between the city states of Italy, his sermons inspired  peaceful reconciliations.  He also converted many heretics to the faith with his solid, persuasive, and compassionate arguments.  He was especially noted for his defense of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary, and the infallibility of the Pope.

In Padua, Anthony preached his last and most famous sequence of Lenten homilies. The crowds were as large as 30,000 people, many of whom had waited all night to hear him. He even required a body guard to protect him from those who sought to snatch a lock of his hair or a patch of clothing as keepsakes.

His Death at 36

The great amount of energy he expended during the 40 days of Lent at Padua in 1231 left him extremely exhausted and so he rested at a small town near Padua.  When he realized he was dying, he wanted to return to Padua, but did not make it, but had to stop at the town of Arcella. After receiving the last sacraments, he kept looking upward and smiling.  When he was asked what he saw there, he answered: “I see my Lord.” Anthony died June 13, 1231, at the age of 36, only ten years after entering the Franciscan order.

Doctor of the Church

Anthony was canonized in 1232, less than one year after his death, and was made a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

St Anthony Padua -Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua - in Padua, Italy

Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy

Although he was Portuguese, St. Anthony took his name from the Italian city of Padua, where he spent most of his later years. A magnificent basilica was built at Padua in his honor; his holy relics were entombed there in 1263.  

His body was exhumed 336 years after he died, and although the rest of his body was corrupt, the tongue of the great preacher was found to be miraculously preserved. From the time of his death up to the present day, many miracles have occurred through St. Anthony’s intercession. 

Beatified:           Unknown

Canonized:        May 30, 1232 by Pope Gregory IX

Feast Day:         June 13

Patron Saint:    Brazil; Lisbon, Portugal; Lost Items; Lost Souls, Padua, Italy; Sick People

Source:

Reflection

Despite his many gifts, St. Anthony remained a man of great holiness and humility, never taking credit for them, but always attributing them all to the Lord.  St. Anthony teaches humility to replace our pride and the importance of submitting to God’s will, rather than our own. 

Do you attribute your successes to the Lord? How can you humbly submit today to doing God’s will in acts of love to those around you?

 

God does not promise to fulfill all our desires, even our noble ones; St. Anthony’s vocation involved neither missionary work nor martyrdom, for God had something different in mind for him. Just like St. Anthony, God’s response to your prayers may seem like he is not listening or has said no. Submit to God’s will and open your heart to listen to God’s response. Maybe your prayer is being answered.  Like St Anthony, God may have something different in mind for you to serve God and grow your faith.

Prayers

St. Anthony of Padua, you are also the patron of lost souls – those who have fallen to mortal sin, have abandoned the Church, and have grown apathetic to the practice of the faith. May you strengthen us during our “dry” times of prayer to eliminate any apathy we may have in our practice of the faith. We pray to you that through your intercession those who have abandoned the Church, return back to practicing the Catholic faith. 

Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to fail”

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Anthony of Padua – Evangelical Doctor Hammer of Heretics Professor of Miracles

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 13 June – St Anthony of Padua O.F.M! Evangelical Doctor – Hammer of Heretics – Professor of Miracles – Wonder-Worker

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. June 13 St. Antony of Padua, Confessor

Catholic Culture – St. Anthony of Padua

Catholic Exchange – St. Anthony of Padua

Catholic Fire – St. Anthony of Padua, Wonder Worker: My Father’s Legacy

Catholic Ireland – Jun 13 – St Anthony of Padua (1193-1231)

Catholic News Agency – St. Anthony of Padua Feast Day: Jun 13

Catholic Online – St. Anthony of Padua

Catholic Saint Medals – St Anthony of Padua

CatholicSaints.info – Saint Anthony of Padua

Franciscan Media – Who Was St. Anthony of Padua?

Independent Catholic News – St Anthony of Padua

Loyola Press – Saint Anthony of Padua, 1195-1231 Feast day June 13

My Catholic Life – Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor

New Advent – Dal-Gal, N. (1907). St. Anthony of Padua. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Anthony of Padua

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Anthony’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)

Saint of the Day  – June 13 St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony’s Shrine – St. Anthony of Padua

uCatholic – St. Anthony of Padua

Wikipedia – Anthony of Padua

Video Link

St. Anthony of Padua – YouTube Video (Catholic Online)

Feast Day Saint Anthony – YouTube Video (Franciscan Media)