Saint Anthony of Padua was also known as Fernando Martins de Bulhões, Antonio di Padova, Anthony of Lisbon or António de Lisboa. He was a Catholic priest and Doctor and a Franciscan friar born on August 15 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal and died on June 13 1231 in Padua, Italy. His feast day is celebrated on June 13 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Saint Anthony of Padua Biography|
|Date of Birth||August 15 1195|
|Place of Birth||Lisbon, Portugal|
|Profession||Catholic priest and Doctor and friar of the Franciscan Order|
|Place of Work||Italy|
|Date of Death||June 13 1231 (aged 35)|
|Place of Death||Padua, Italy|
|Feast Day||June 13|
|Canonization||By Pope Gregory IX on May 30 1232 in Spoleto, Italy|
|Patron Saint of||
St Anthony of Padua Life History
St Anthony of Padua was called Fernando Martins de Bulhões at birth by his parents Vicente Martins and Teresa Pais Taveira. He hailed from a noble and wealthy family who sent him to school at the local cathedral.
When Anthony of Padua was 15 years, he entered the Abbey of Saint Vincent where the Augustinian community of Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross resided near Lisbon.
Anthony of Padua felt that the frequent visits from friends and family distracted him. Therefore, in 1212, he requested to be transferred to the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra which was their motherhouse and studied theology and Latin.
St Anthony of Padua was ordained as a priest at the age of 19 years and was given the responsibility of being in charge of hospitality for the abbey.
One time some Franciscan friars came and set up a hermitage dedicated to Anthony of Egypt near Coimbra. Their simple, evangelical lifestyle fascinated Anthony very much. After sometime, sad new came that five Franciscan frairs had been killed in Morocco.
It was King Afonso II, the third King of Portugal who helped the Franciscan Frairs to ransom their bodies and have them returned to be buried in the Abbey of Santa Cruz as martyrs.
St Anthony of Padua was so inspired by the example shown by the Franciscan Frairs. After seeking permission from Church authorities, he left the Canons Regular and joined the new Franciscan order.
He was admitted as a Franciscan friar and joined the small hermitage in Santo António dos Olivais, in Coimbra, Portugal. It is here that he adopted the name Anthony. Anthony was the name of the chapel there dedicated to Anthony the Great.
Anthony had gone to Morocco to persue his vocation but got very ill. He decided to return to Portugal to convalesce but fate had a different mission for him. The ship he boarded to Portugal was pushed off course and landed in Sicily.
From Sicily, Anthony went to Tuscany, but due to his frail health condition, he was sent to a rural hermitage of San Paolo near Forlì, Romagna.
St Anthony of Padua’s preaching acumen was identified in 1222, when some Dominican friars had come to the town of Forlì for an ordination. There arose a misunderstanding over who should give the homily.
The Franciscans hoped that the Dominicans would preach but they came unprepared. The head of the hermitage had the notion that his own humble friars could not give a homily for the occasion, but thought Anthony was more qualified than the rest.
At first, St Anthony of Padua objected to that task but his superior encouraged him to speak whatever the Holy Spirit might inspire. He delivered the sermon in a great way and moved his audience by his eloquence, rich voice, his deep knowledge of Scripture and the theme of his message.
The local minister provincial named Brother Gratian sent Anthony to the Franciscan province of Romagna in Bologna. It is while he was here that St Francis of Assisi, the founder of the order, noticed St Anthony of Padua and his works.
At that time, St Francis of Assisi embraced, trusted and entrenched a life of real poverty and service in his order. He did not trust the place of theological studies in the order because he feared it might make them abandon a life of real poverty and service.
In St Anthony of Padua and his works, St Francis found a person who shared his vision and also a man who could teach young members of the order seeking ordination. He left that teaching faculty to Anthony in 1224.
St. Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of finding lost or stolen things. This came about after Anthony’s very important book of psalms which contained his teaching notes and comments was stolen by a novice who had decided to leave the order. After realizing that his cherished book was missing he prayed for its return. Consequently, the prayers not only did they make the novice thief to return the book but also to return to the order. That stolen book is still preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna.
St Anthony of Padua taught in several universities including University of Montpellier and University of Toulouse in southern France. In 1226, Anthony was appointed Provincial superior of northern Italy and selected the city of Padua as his location.
St. Anthony of Padua preaching to the fish: There is a story which originated from the City of Rimini of St Anthony preaching to the fish. He had gone there to preach but the heretics ignored him. It is said that Anthony decided to go to the seashore to preach instead. When he began to preach a large school of fish gathered infront of him. The residents of Rimini marvelled at this and were moved to listen to his message.
Mule bowed before the Blessed Sacrament: St Anthony was challenged by a heretic in the City of Toulouse to prove to him the reality of the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The man, mocked St Anthony when he brought a hungry mule and placed before it fresh fodder on one hand, and Blessed Sacrament on the other. It is said that the mule ignored the fresh fodder and instead bowed before the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Anthony of Padua eats poisoned food: At one time in Italy, as St Anthony was dining with heretics, he realized that the food he was served was poisoned. The heretics admitted that they wanted to poison him, but still challenged him to eat if he truly believed the words in the Gospel of Mark 16:18 which say that the apostles of Christ will not be harmed if they drink any deadly thing. Anthony blessed the food, ate it, and suffered no harm.
St Anthony of Padua Birth
He was born on August 15 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal in a wealthy and noble family of Vicente Martins and Teresa Pais Taveira.
St Anthony of Padua Death
In 1231, at the age of 35, St Anthony became sick with ergotism and died in Padua on June 13 1231 at the Poor Clare monastery at Padua. After his death, children cried in the streets and all the church bells rang without anyone ringing them.
St Anthony was buried in the small Church of Santa Maria Mater Domini near a convent he had founded in 1229. But due to his big fame, a large basilica was constructed next to the small Church. The small Church became a Chapel and is known as the Chapel of the Dark Madonna (Cappella della Madonna Mora) while the basilica is known as “The Saint” (Il Santo).
His body was exhumed 30 years after his death, the tongue looked fresh and incorrupt, which was a testament of his gift of preaching.
St Anthony of Padua was canonized on May 30 1232 by Pope Gregory IX at Spoleto, Italy. This was less than one year after his death.
His sermons and teachings were so spiritually rich that on January 16 1946, he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Venerable Pope Pius XII.
St Anthony of Padua’s feast day is celebrated on June 13 every year in the Catholic Church.
St Anthony of Padua is the Patron Saint of
- American Indians;
- Elderly people;
- Faith in the Blessed Sacrament;
- Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land;
- Lost articles;
- Lost items,
- Lost people,
- Lost souls,
- Lower animals;
- Oppressed people;
- Poor people;
- Pregnant women;
- Runts of litters;
- San Antonio De Padua Parish, Taytay, Rizal
- Seekers of lost articles;
- Tigua Indians;
- Travel hostesses;
- Tuburan, Cebu;
Today’s Catholic Quote:
Let us love to pray and labor unseen, and cherish in the secret of our hearts the graces of God and the growth of our immortal souls. Like St. Antony, let us attend to this, and leave the rest to God.
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