Anthony of Padua

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Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua, also venerated as Anthony of Lisbon, particularly in Portugal (August 15, 1195 - June 13, 1231) is a Catholic saint born in Lisbon as Fernando de Bulhões, to a wealthy family.


He received in baptism the name of Fernando. His family arranged a sound education for him at the local cathedral school. Against the wishes of his family, Fernando entered the Augustinian Abbey of St Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon. The Canons Regular of St Augustine, of which he was now a member were famous for their dedication to scholarly pursuits. Fernando studied Sacred Scripture, St Jerome, St Augustine, St Gregory the Great and St Bernard. He also studied Latin masters Ovid, Seneca and Cato. Fernando was constantly visited by friends and relatives, bringing embarrassing gifts and news from their social world which disturbed him. His studies were suffering and he found no peace there. He persuaded his superiors to transfer him to the Augustinian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, then the capital of Portugal, and continued his studies.

After his ordination, Fernando was placed in charge of hospitality in his abbey. In this role, in 1219, he came in contact with five Franciscans who were on their way to Morocco to preach to the Mohammedans there. Fernando was strongly attracted to the simple Gospel lifestyle of the Franciscan friars. In February 1220, news arrived that the five Franciscans had been martyred in Morocco. They were considered to have acquired the crown of martyrdoom. Fernando meditated on the heroism of these Franciscans. He longed to embrace the simple lifestyle of the Franciscans. He wanted the freedom of a charismatic and joy-filled response to God's call to leave everything and follow Him. Francis obtained permission from his superiors to join the Franciscans. In the summer of 1220 he was invested with the Franciscan habit and began to learn the teachings of their founder, Francis of Assisi. He took the new name of Anthony when he joined the Order of Friars Minor in honor of Saint Anthony the Great (251-356), to whom the Franciscan hermitage where he was living was dedicated.

Shortly afterwards, Anthony set off to Morocco with another friar. He intended to die preaching the Gospel there. He contracted a severe fever, possibly malaria. He set sail for Portugal but was blown off course in a terrible storm and the ship was forced ashore in Sicily. He joined up with some of his fellow friars in Sicily who were in the process of travelling to Assisi for a gathering of all Franciscan friars. On the feast of Pentecost in 1221 thousands of Friars gathered in Assisi for what has come to be known as the Chapter of Mats, as the great number of friars meant many had to sleep on mats. After the chapter, the provincial of Bologna, Friar Graziano sent him to a small hermitage in the mountains in the town of Montepaolo to serve a priest for the hermits there. This was one of the happiest periods in his life as he finally live in total simplicity. However, Anthony was obliged to preach at an ordination when the preacher failed to arrive, and all were astounded at his marvellous preaching. From then on, he travelled throughout Northern Italy and Southern France preaching especially in areas where heresy was strong.

He is said to have been an eloquent preacher with a loud and clear voice, a winning smile, a wonderful memory, and profound learning. With the zeal of an apostle he undertook to reform the morality of his time by combating in an especial manner the vices of luxury, avarice, and tyranny.


He holds the record for the fastest canonization in history: he was declared a saint 352 days after his death (Pentecost, May 30, 1232). His feast day is on June 13th, the day of his death, a day of popular and sumptuous celebrations in Lisbon. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of Lisbon and the patron of Padua, where his relics remained after his death.

The numerous miracles attributed to him made the name of Anthony celebrated throughout the world. The inhabitants of Padua erected to his memory a magnificent basilica, where his relics were transferred in 1263. When the vault in which, for thirty years, his sacred body had reposed was opened, the flesh was found reduced to dust but the preacher's tongue was seen to be uninjured, fresh, and of a lively red colour, it was reported at the time. St Bonaventure, beholding this wonder, took the tongue affectionately in his hands and kissed it, exclaiming: "O Blessed Tongue that always praised the Lord, and made others bless Him, now it is evident what great merit thou hast before God."

The fame of St Anthony's miracles has never diminished, and even at the present day he is acknowledged as the greatest miracle worker of the times. A gifted speaker, he attracted crowds everywhere he went, speaking in multiple tongues; the legend being that even the fishes in the Brenta loved to listen.

One of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are found everywhere. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on January 16, 1946, and is sometimes called the "Evangelical Doctor." He is especially invoked for the recovery of things lost. Also, against starvation, barrenness; patron of amputees, animals, boatmen, Brazil, diocese of Beaumont, domestic animals, the elderly, expectant mothers, faith in the Blessed Sacrament, Ferrazzano, fishermen, harvests, horses, Lisbon, lost articles, lower animals, mail, mariners, oppressed people, Padua, paupers, Portugal, sailors, seekers of lost articles, sterility, swineherds, Tigua Indians, travel hostesses, travellers, and watermen.

In brazil and some parts of latin america, he is recognized as the marriage saint, and in his day (june 13)it´s a local ritual for single women to buy a small statue of saint anthony and leave it upside down for a week, blackmailing him to only put him in his normal position after they found a good husband.

External link

fr:Antoine de Padoue it:Sant'Antonio da Padova nl:Antonius van Padua pt:Santo António de Lisboa sl:Sveti Anton Padovanski


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