Saint Anthony is a beloved saint. He devoted his life to the poor and less fortunate, even though he came from a wealthy family. Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal on August 15, 1195, to his parents Martin and Theresa de Boullion. This is also the date of our Blessed Mother’s Assumption. At his baptism his mother dedicated him to the Blessed Virgin, and he had a lifelong devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary (Lovasik 3). He was given the name Fernando at baptism (About St. Anthony). Saint Anthony is the patron saint of miracles and of the poor (Craughwell 379; Little, Brown and Company 205).
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Saint Anthony started his prayer life early. His parents sent him to a cathedral school for his education. When he turned fifteen, he went to study at the Augustine house of studies, St. Vincent’s Outside the Walls, by Lisbon. St. Anthony joined the community, Canons Regular. He wanted to become a priest, so he stayed there for ten years. He spent two years at St. Vincent’s and he spent eight years at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra. He wanted to become a martyr so he became a Franciscan. He took the name Anthony (Lovasik 8). Anthony was often tempted by the devil, but prayed for strength to defeat him. When he was younger, he used to serve the Eucharist at his uncle’s mass at the cathedral. He believed that the Eucharist gave him strength (Lovasik 5, 7, and 9). St. Anthony had a good relationship with St. Francis of Assisi. He met him in Morocco, when his ship got blown off course (Lovasik 11). St Anthony was united with St. Francis’ spirit and God’s wisdom and guidance (Lovasik 16). St. Francis also asked Anthony to do things for him like teach Theology to the St. Francis’ fellow friars. Anthony followed his orders and did so (Lovasik 18).
St. Anthony loved to preach. He preached to the poor and less fortunate. He set his life to preach. Even though he came from a wealthy family, he gave up everything and practiced poverty, so he could preach truly about it (About St. Anthony). When he joined the Franciscan Friars, they soon realized that he preached wonders, so they sent him along to preach his miracles (Craughwell and Haeger 377). He was a gifted preacher. He forgave everyone. St. Anthony drew many crowds filled with less fortunate people, careless people, and even criminals. His sermons usually brought the criminals to confession (Little, Brown and Company 205).
St. Anthony had a hard life because people wanted to hurt him, and he did get hurt along the way. He traveled tirelessly to preach his gift, though he became sick many times. He became very sick with edema and decided go back to Padua, Italy (Catholic Online). On his way there he died. He died on June 13, 1231. He was thirty-six years old. He died from his labors (Craughwell and Haeger 379). It is said that right before he died he cried out, “I see my Lord” (Lovasik 26). In the years after his death he has earned the title “The Wonder-Worker” (Little, Brown and Company 205). St. Anthony has also been called “The Ark of the Testament” and the “Repository of Holy Scripture.” Forty-six miracles were confirmed for his canonization. One reason for St. Anthony becoming the patron saint of lost things is when he lost a book of psalms that had all of his teachings in it. Anthony prayed and prayed for his book to be returned and it was returned by a novice who had stolen it. The book is being kept in the Franciscan friary in Bologna (About St. Anthony). Only two miracles were accomplished during his lifetime (Lovasik 26). St. Anthony’s feast day is June 13, the day he died. Only one year after his death, Pope Gregory IX canonized him as a saint (Craughwell and Haeger 179). In 1946, Pope Pius XII declared him a doctor of the church on January 16 (Catholic Online). That same year that he died, people in Padua built a basilica in honor of St. Anthony. The basilica was finished in the year 1263, thirty-six years after his death. It is reported that about thirty-two years after his death, people found his body totally corrupted. However, his tongue was perfect, moist and filled with color as it was when he was living (Lovasik 28-29). St. Anthony is usually depicted holding an infant. The infant is said to be baby Jesus. St. Anthony was visited by the infant Jesus while he was praying in his cell. The infant smiled at him and held out his arms to St. Anthony. In remembrance of this event St. Anthony is seen with the infant, a lily for innocence, and the Bible representing his teachings (Lovasik 23). People love St. Anthony so much! Many people find St. Anthony an understanding friend. Many pilgrims travel to Padua to St. Anthony’s tomb and pray every year. St. Anthony has also been called the “Saint of the World” (Lovasik 31).
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I first heard about St. Anthony in kindergarten when Mrs. Arcuri would call him to find lost things. St. Anthony further piqued my interest when I saw a movie called The Christmas Tree. In the movie a little orphaned girl named Anna is dropped off at a convent where she is raised. Her only possession is her precious satchel. As a teenager, she lost her satchel and is distraught. The sisters tell her to pray to St. Anthony and he would find her satchel. The sisters prayed and prayed to St. Anthony and indeed Anna found her satchel. As a young adult she decided to become a nun and took the name Sister Anthony in gratitude. I admire that he gave up everything to help people that don’t have much or anything at all. He devoted his life to the poor. He tried to live what he preached. St. Anthony is a beloved saint!