Today, June 13, we celebrate the feast of *Saint Anthony of Padua* (1195-1231), Doctor of the Church, Confessor, Franciscan friar, and patron saint of lost items, travelers, and the poor.
St. Anthony is one of the most popular saints in the Church. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of scripture, he was the second-most-quickly canonized saint after Peter of Verona. In 1946 Pope Pius XII officially declared Anthony a Doctor of the Universal Church.
Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal. His parents sent him to the Cathedral of Lisbon, where he was educated in both scholarly and spiritual matters by the clergy.
By the age of 15, he had joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine. At age 17, he requested and received a transfer to the priory of Saint Cross where he spent eight years in silent prayer and devotion, living and breathing the Scriptures. At 25, Saint Anthony was led to join the Franciscan Order (at which time he took the name Anthony in honor of Saint Antony of Egypt). Deeply inspired by the history of Franciscan martyrs, he strove to emulate the sacrifice of those who preceded him. He requested permission to journey to Africa on mission, and was granted approval, but became so ill upon arrival was forced to re-board his ship and return to Portugal.
En route home, a storm forced the ship to land off the cost of Sicily and from there he journeyed to Assisi, and served as chaplain to the hermits, performing the most menial of tasks, and practicing penance and mortification. It was there, when forced via obedience to his superior to preach, that the Holy Spirit shone forth from Saint Anthony, and he earned a reputation for eloquence and ability. Saint Anthony’s sermons attracted large numbers of people—so many, that no church would accommodate the crowds. Recognized as a great man of prayer and a great Scripture and theology scholar, Anthony became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars.
Miracles followed Saint Anthony. Once, while lodging at the home of a faithful man, Anthony was observed to be holding the Infant Jesus in his arms, surrounded by heavenly light.
After a series of Lenten sermons in 1231, Anthony’s strength gave out and he went into seclusion at Camposanpiero but soon had to be carried back to Padua. He did not reach the city but was taken to the Poor Clare convent at Arcella, where he died.
Anthony died at the young age of 36, to the cries of children in the street: “The saint is dead, Antony is dead.”
Anthony’s body was buried in the Franciscan Church of Saint Mary in Padua (from which his name originates). Upon exhumation some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.
*St. Antony of Padua, pray for us.*
*✝️PRAYER TO ST. ANTHONY IN ANY NECESSITY*
I salute you, St. Anthony, lily of purity, ornament and glory of Christianity.
I salute you, great Saint, cherub of wisdom and seraph of divine love. I rejoice at the favors Our Lord has so liberally bestowed on you.
In humility and confidence I entreat you to help me, for I know that God has given you charity and compassion, as well as power.
I ask you, by the love you felt toward the Holy Infant Jesus as you held Him in your arms, to tell Him now of the favors I seek through your intercession. *(Mention your petition.)*
O glorious favorite of God, in humble reverence I petition you to grant me what I so urgently ask for, and I will make known your goodness and holiness, thereby to honor and glorify Him who has so greatly blessed you. Amen.