Our Patron Saint - St. Anthony of Padua
Saint Anthony of Padua lived from 1195 to 1231. Born in Portugal, he was a Franciscan monk who traveled widely before settling in Padua. He is called Saint Anthony “of Padua” because his body was buried in the little Franciscan Church of St. Mary in Padua.
He was known for his great preaching and teaching and formation of other Franciscans in homilies, preaching and teaching.
Saint Anthony sought only a quiet life of prayer and penance, but once people heard him preach, he became in demand as a public speaker. Everyone wanted to hear him. Many preachers of his day led lives that sharply contrasted with gospel values. Saint Anthony realized that words were not enough; people wanted genuineness of gospel living, and in Saint Anthony they found it. He spoke with humility, but the fire within him was evident; his knowledge unmistakable. People were moved by what he was, as much as by the words he spoke. He spoke of the grandeur of Christianity; of conversion; of reconciliation with a loving Father.
Among the Franciscans themselves, Saint Anthony is celebrated as a teacher and preacher extraordinaire. He was the first teacher in the Franciscan order, given the approval and blessing of Saint Francis to instruct his brother Franciscans. The church invites us to imitate Saint Anthony in his love of scripture, and his prayerful efforts to understand and apply it.
Saint Anthony’s life was what every Christian’s life should be: to love and forgive, to be concerned for the needs of others, and to live with total trusting love and dependence on God.
Saint Anthony died in 1231 at the age of 36. He had been a Franciscan only 10 years. The following year, his friend, Pope Gregory IX, moved by the miracles that occurred at Anthony’s tomb, declared him a Saint. Anthony was a simple friar who preached the Good News with love and courage. He was one of the great preachers and theologians of his day; a man of penance and apostolic zeal. But he was primarily a saint of the people.
Saint Anthony is known as Patron Saint of Lost Articles: This relates to a story about a book of psalms that was very important to Anthony. It was stolen and he prayed for its return. The book was soon returned. There are many stories and legends about the countless miracles worked thru the intercession of Saint Anthony. It is said that he was once searching for a “lost” scripture and the Christ Child came to point it out for him.
Statues often portray St. Anthony as a young tonsured man dressed in Franciscan Habit holding the bible with the Christ Child and wearing the brown robes of his Franciscan order. Often, St. Anthony is portrayed with a lily; a signature that he was not a Martyr.
Saint Anthony is also Patron Saint of Safe Travel, especially on the sea. He is much loved by sailors who often carry his statue on their ships. He is widely regarded Patron Saint of Miracles, a most powerful intercessor on our behalf.
People pray to St. Anthony for help in finding lost objects and lost causes.
Saint Anthony, pray for us!