Introduction to the Life of Saint Anthony of Padua:
- Feast Day: June 13
- Type of Feast: Memorial
- Readings: 1 Kings 18:20-39; Psalm 16:1b-2ab, 4, 5ab and 8, 11; Matthew 5:17-19 (full text here)
- Dates: August 15, 1195 (Lisbon, Portugal)-June 13, 1231 (Arcella, near Padua, Italy)
- Birth Name: Fernando de Bulhões
- Patron of: Faith in the Blessed Sacrament; amputees; sailors; elderly people; seekers of lost articles; animals, especially horses; American Indians; expectant mothers; barren women
- Canonization: May 30, 1232, by Pope Gregory IX; proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII on January 16, 1946.
- Prayers: Novena to Saint Anthony for any Need; Novena to Saint Anthony to Find a Lost Article
The Life of Saint Anthony of Padua:
In 1220, five Franciscans whom Saint Anthony had met were martyred at the hands of Muslims in Morocco. Saint Anthony received permission to leave the Canons Regular of St. Augustine and to become a Franciscan. He took the name Anthony at that time and set off for Morocco to preach the Faith, fully expecting to suffer a martyr's death as well. Becoming severely ill, he tried to return to Portugal, but his ship was stranded on the coast of Sicily. When he recovered, he traveled to Assisi for a general meeting of the Franciscan order, and he would spend the rest of his life in Italy and France.
In Italy, his preaching came to the attention of Saint Francis, the founder of the Franciscans, who directed him to teach theology to the Franciscan brothers. He preached so strongly against the Cathars and Albigenses that he earned the title "Hammer of the Heretics." During his life, he performed many miracles, including rendering poisoned food innocuous by making the Sign of the Cross over it; bilocating (appearing in two places at one time) so that he could celebrate Mass and sing the Divine Office; and reattaching an amputated foot. His miracles, both during his life and after his death, earned him the title thaumaturgus or "wonder-worker."
Saint Anthony is often portrayed with the Infant Jesus in his arms, in honor of an apparition of the Infant Jesus, in which He kissed Saint Anthony and told him He loved him for his zealous preaching. Saint Anthony died on June 13, 1231, and his feast is celebrated on that day. His canonization took less than a year. In 1263, Saint Anthony's tomb was opened to transfer his relics, and his tongue was discovered to be incorrupt, which the great Franciscan Saint Bonaventure took as a sign that God had been pleased with Saint Anthony's preaching. On January 16, 1946, in recognition of that preaching, Pope Pius XII declared Saint Anthony a doctor of the Church.