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St. Anthony of Padua, the Priceless One

Many a time we wonder if it is ever possible to live out our faith in a world that’s secular in nature and hardly supportive to a Christian way of living. The answer to this complex question lies in the life of Saints who were ordinary people yet leading extraordinary lives by the grace of God. Over the course of many years, we’ve had a great number of Saints who through their lives fraught with virtues continue to glorify God even to this day. 

13 June – Feast of St.Anthony

 A visit to any of the shrines of St Anthony would leave us spellbound as we get to see people from different walks of life thronging these places seeking graces through his powerful intercessory prayers. Everyone knows he’s an amazing wonder-working Saint acting as an emissary of Christ’s unconditional love. Today being St. Anthony’s feast day, it’s only befitting to meditate on the virtuous life of this true follower of Christ. 

Something about St. Anthony

Born in Lisbon, Portugal in an affluent family, this great wonder-worker who was christened ‘Fernando’ captivated the hearts of many through his fruitful living in his days. 

Even at a very young age, St. Anthony displayed great devotion to our Lord through his regular hearing of the Holy Mass, a deep love for our Blessed Mother and a compelling urge to help the poor, thanks to his parents who fulfilled their duty of nurturing this faith. His faultless behaviour and profound faith led those who knew him to give him the honorific “Little Angel”.

Miracles beyond imagination 

As an altar boy, he was drawn to the practice of kneeling before the Eucharist and praying for a few minutes after Mass. On one such day, the devil appeared before him. Unintimidated by its terrifying presence, young Fernando simply responded by drawing with his fingers a mark of the Cross on the marble floor. This caused the evil creature to vanish. To this day, this mark remains indelible serving as a beautiful reminder of the power of the Holy Cross. 

Vision of the Infant Jesus 

One winter’s evening young Fernando heard a knock on his door. On opening he saw a sweet boy of five, pleading for alms. When he offered to give him bread, the little boy showed his bag containing rubies and said that they were good hearts and that he was in search of such hearts. Fernando was taken by surprise and wanted to know who he was. He looked at him intently only to discover that the little boy was Child Jesus. And this Child Jesus had a request, “Fernando, will you, please, give me your heart?”

Pursuit of his vocation

In 1210, Fernando joined Canons Regular of St. Augustine as a trainee for the priesthood. As a seminarian, he always conducted himself with humility and spent his time in menial work like cleaning toilets and washing utensils.

Cloth turning canoe 

Once, Fernando along with his fellow seminarians were off to an islet on an outing. On their return, these seminarians left him behind. However, this young man without being dispirited looked heavenward and prayed. In a flash, God heard his prayers and changed his upper garment into a canoe and the ecstatic Fernando returned to the seminary even before his counterparts. Wroughting miracles were very much part of his life so much so he was asked by the rector to limit the number of miracles he performed in a day. 

From Augustinian to Franciscan 

He was ordained as a priest in 1219, at the age of 24. While working as a receptionist in the abbey, he met with some Franciscan friars who spoke of their austere way of life. Living in huts and begging for bread were something that captured his interest and soon he longed to be a Franciscan. Eventually, his dream of becoming a Franciscan was realized and it was then he took the name Anthony. 

On one occasion, some of his Franciscan peers were not pleased with him performing miracles, so they asked him to lock himself up and whip himself. St.Anthony cheerfully submitted to their whims and inflicted the punishment upon himself. This left his tormentors stunned at his humility. 

An ardent lover of St. Francis of Assisi, he had the opportunity to meet this other Saint who himself was impressed with St. Anthony on hearing about his profound preaching of the Gospel.

Patron Saint of Lost Objects and Lost Souls 

The practice of recognizing St. Anthony as the patron Saint of lost objects and even of lost souls was due to one incident in his life wherein a novice stole his psalter, his most treasured book that had notes of his preachings. With much prayers, St. Antony brought about a change of heart in the novice and subsequently, she returned the book.

His Death and Canonization 

On the eventful day of June 13, 1231, when he was 36 years of age, his time had come to depart from this world and embrace everlasting life. It was a terminal illness that brought an end to his earthly life. He was canonized as a Saint on May 30, 1232, in less than a year after his death. 32 years later, his tomb was opened in the presence of Fr. Bonaventure who found his tongue intact, the tongue from which all goodness emanated. Fr. Bonaventure kissed the tongue reverently and praised it. Later,  he was canonized as St. Bonaventure.

Dear Readers, Wishing you a happy feast of St. Anthony of Padua. May his most admirable life serve as a model for our earthly conduct. We, who are so far away from God, should change our lives which is a striking contrast to the life of St.Anthony. May we on this blessed day, implore the prayers of St. Antony for the miracle of our conversion.

Cecilia Vinita
Cecilia Vinita
Hello, I’m Cecilia Vinita, a homemaker living in Chennai. In the past, I had worked with few companies as a Content Writer/ Editor. Needless to say, I am very passionate about writing and simply love to engage in this pursuit. Catholicgallery.org is a beautiful initiative created for the love of Christ and I personally find it heartening to be part of this portal. In my segment, you will get to read everything that concerns our faith. Stay tuned, stay blessed !

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