St. Anthony of Padua – A Brief Life Sketch
St. Anthony of Padua was born on 15 August 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal. Though his rich parents wanted him to be a great statesman, he preferred to be poor for the sake of Christ and of his kingdom.
His early education took place at the Cathedral of Lisbon. At the age of fifteen, he joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine and was transferred to the monastery at Coimbra.
After his ecclesiastical studies, he was ordained a priest in 1219. Disappointed with the unhealthy religious atmosphere prevailing in the monastery where he lived, he opted to join the newly founded Franciscan Order.
St. Anthony of Padua – Joined The Franciscans
In 1220, Don Pedro the crown Prince of Portugal, brought the relics of Franciscan Missionaries who had been martyred at Morroco, in north Africa to Coimbra, a hundred miles from Lisbon.
This had a tremendous effect on Anthony, who requested admission to the Franciscans. In 1221, he was accepted.
Soon after, he set out for Morocco top preach the Gospel to the Moors. On the way to Morocco, he was forced to return to Europe because of ill-health. On his return home, a storm drove his ship to the shores of Italy, where he lived for the rest of his life.
Anthony was a great preacher, as a missionary he preached in many cities of northern Italy and southern France. People used to call him “hammer of the heretics”.
He was instrumental in bringing many sinners back to God, mostly by his good example.
It is said that when Anthony was praying in his room, the Infant Jesus appeared to him, put his little arms around his neck and kissed him.
It is believed that this singular privilege was bestowed on Anthony because he kept his soul free even from the smallest stain of sin.
Draws Large Crowd
Anthony drew large crowds wherever he went, but his greatest success was in Padua where the entire city flocked to hear him and welcome him as another Francis of Assisi.
He worked to abolish the debtors prison, helped the poor (Alms given to seek his intercession are often referred to as St. Anthony’s bread) and worked ceaselessly and untiringly to eradicate various heresies.
St. Anthony of Padua – Dies
All this took its toll on Anthony’s health and he died at the age of 36 on 13 June 1231. He was canonized within the year following his death, by Pope Gregory IX and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.
His Shrine of Padua is one of the biggest crowd-pulling pilgrim centers in Italy.
Today St. Anthony is one of the most popular saints. He is called the “Saint of the whole world”, because the faithful of the whole world love and venerate him
He died on a Tuesday and that is the reason of the Tuesday devotion. He is venerated as an Apostle of Charity, invoked in both spiritual and temporal needs.
He is known as the finder of lost articles, patron of lovers and married couples of women in confinement, a helper against diabolical obsessions, fever, animal disease, and patron of miners.
Ask the wonder worker with confidence and he will obtain what you seek, says St. Bonaventures.