Ordinary Time: June 13th
(Patron Saint of my Parish Church)
Anthony is one of the most popular saints in the Church. He is the
patron of lost things and numerous other causes. In Brazil, he is
considered a general of the army; he is the patron of the poor and
has been recognized as a wonder-worker from the moment of his death.
He was born in Portugal and entered the Augustinian monastery of Sao
Vicente in Lisbon when he was fifteen. When news of the Franciscan
martyrs in Morocco reached him, he joined the Franciscans at
Coimbra. At his own request, he was sent as a missionary to Morocco,
but he became ill, and on his return journey, his boat was driven
off course and he landed in Sicily. He took part in St. Francis'
famous Chapter of Mats in 1221 and was assigned to the Franciscan
province of Romagna.
He became a preacher by accident. When a scheduled preacher did not
show up for an ordination ceremony at Forli, the Franciscan superior
told Anthony to go into the pulpit. His eloquence stirred everyone,
and he was assigned to preach throughout northern Italy. Because of
his success in converting heretics, he was called the "Hammer of
Heretics" and because of his learning, St. Francis himself appointed
him a teacher of theology. St. Anthony of Padua was such a forceful
preacher that shops closed when he came to town, and people stayed
all night in church to be present for his sermons. He became
associated with Padua because he made this city his residence and
the center of his great preaching mission.
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. He was thirty-six
years old, and the whole city of Padua turned out in mourning for
He was canonized within a year of his death and was declared a
Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.