Anthony of Padua, St.


Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Portugal and there joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, where he quickly became renowned for his preaching. 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. 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, where he 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.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.