St. Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon Portugal where he was educated in the city's Cathedral School.  After joining the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, he was transfered to Holy Cross Monastery in Coimbra, then the capital of Portugal. But St. Anthony was so impressed by the martyrdom of five Franciscans who had been spreading the faith in Morocco that he decided to himself become a Franciscan friar so that he too could preach the gospel to the Muslims of Africa and perhaps even die for Christ. However, illness obliged him to leave Morocco, and a storm then drove his ship to Sicily, so that he found himself taking part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans in 1221, held in the town of Assisi.  There, Anthony met Saint Francis of Assisi himself. St. Francis, suspicious of the pride that so often accompanies great learning, recognized that the humility of St. Anthony made him the perfect one to teach theology to the friars and so assigned him to that important task. But Anthony’s great talent as a preacher was soon discovered, and so he was sent to northern Italy and southern France, then a stronghold of the Albigensian heresy. Later Saint Anthony returned to Padua, Italy. His sermons are full of gentleness, but he reproved the wicked with fearless severity – especially backsliding clergy and the oppressors of the weak.  In his preaching, one can find so many scriptural quotes that scholars have concluded Anthony had committed a large part of the Bible to memory.  He was canonized in 1232, less than one year after his death.  Pope Pius XII proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church, designating him Doctor Evangelicus, the “evangelical Doctor.”  Even today, St. Anthony’s shrine in Padua is a center of pilgrimage, and he is also well known as the patron saint of the lost and found.  Biography by Dr. Italy