Anthony of Padua

Anthony of Padua (Antonio di Padova) or Anthony of Lisbon (August 15, 1195 – 13 June 1231) was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised in a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua, Italy. Noted by his contemporaries for his powerful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and sick, he was one of the most rapidly canonized saints in the history of the Church. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII on 16 January 1946.

antony of padua

Anthony of Padua and the Franciscan Order

After his priestly ordination, Fernando was appointed butler at the age of 19 and in charge of the hospitality of the abbey. While he was in Coimbra, Franciscan friars arrived and settled in a small hermitage outside Coimbra dedicated to Anthony the Great. Fernando was strongly attracted to the simple, evangelical lifestyle of the friars, whose order had only been founded 11 years previously. News arrived that five Franciscans had been beheaded in Morocco, the first of their order to be killed. King Afonso II redeemed their bodies to be returned and buried as martyrs in the Monastery of Santa Cruz. Inspired by their example, Fernando obtained permission from the ecclesiastical authorities to leave the Canons Regular to join the new Franciscan order. Upon his admission into the life of the brothers, he joined the small hermitage of Olivais, taking the name of Antoine (from the name of the chapel there, dedicated to Antoine le Grand), under which he will be known.

Anthony of Padua then left for Morocco, in fulfillment of his new vocation. However, he fell seriously ill in Morocco and returned to Portugal in the hope of regaining his health. On the return trip, the ship was pushed off course and landed in Sicily.

From Sicily he went to Tuscany, where he was assigned to a convent of the order, but he encountered difficulties due to his sickly appearance. He was eventually assigned to the rural hermitage of San Paolo near Forlì, Romagna, a choice made in view of his poor health. There he resorted to a cell that one of the brothers had made in a nearby cave, spending time in private prayer and study.

In 1222, in the town of Forlì, a number of visiting Dominican friars were present on the occasion of an ordination, and a misunderstanding arose about who should preach. The Franciscans expected one of the Dominicans to occupy the pulpit, being renowned for his preaching. However, the Dominicans had come unprepared, thinking that a Franciscan would be the homilist. In this dilemma, the head of the hermitage, who did not think that any of his humble brothers could not give a homily for the occasion, appealed to Antoine, whom he suspected to be the most qualified, and the begged to say whatever the Holy Spirit could inspire. . Anthony of Padua opposed it, but was rejected, and his impromptu sermon created a deep impression on his audience. His audience was moved not only by his rich voice and striking manner, but also by the theme and substance of his speech, his deep knowledge of Scripture, and the eloquence with which he delivered his message.

Antoine was then sent by Brother Gratien, local provincial minister, to the Franciscan province of Romagna, based in Bologna. He soon caught the attention of the order's founder, Francis of Assisi. Francis had had a strong mistrust of the place of theological studies in the life of his fraternity, fearing that it would lead to an abandonment of their commitment to a life of true poverty and service. In Anthony of Padua, however, he found a kindred spirit who shared his vision and could also provide the teaching that any young member of the order wishing to be ordained might need. In 1224, he entrusted the continuation of the studies of one of his brothers to the care of Antoine.

The traditional practice of praying for Saint Anthony's help in finding lost or stolen items dates back to an incident during his life in Bologna. According to history, Anthony of Padua had a book of psalms which was important to him, as it contained his notes and commentaries to use in teaching his students. A novice who had chosen to leave had taken the psalter with him. Before the invention of the printing press, any book was copied by hand and therefore a valuable item. one Franciscan friar in particular, given his vow of poverty, would have found such an object difficult to replace. When Antony realized that his psalter was missing, he prayed for it to be found or returned, after which the thief was moved not only to return the book to Antony, but also to restore order. The stolen book would be kept at the Franciscan convent in Bologna.

On occasion, Antoine de Padoue held another teaching post at universities such as the University of Montpellier and the University of Toulouse in the south of France, but his preaching was considered his supreme gift. According to historian Sophronius Clasen, Antony preached "the greatness of Christianity". His method included allegory and symbolic explanation of the scriptures. In 1226, after attending the general chapter of his order held in Arles, France, and preaching in the region of Provence, Antoine returned to Italy and was appointed provincial superior of northern Italy. He chose the city of Padua as his location.

In 1228, he was sent from the General Chapter to Pope Gregory IX. At the papal court, his preaching was hailed as a "box of the Bible" and he was commissioned to produce his collection of sermons, Sermons for Feast Days (Sermones in Festivitates). Gregory IX described Antony as "the Ark of the Testament" (testament of Doctor Arca).

The story of Antony “preaching to the fish” was born in Rimini, where he went to preach. When the heretics treated him with contempt, Antony is said to have gone to the shore, where he began to preach by the water's edge until a great crowd of fish was seen gathered before him. The townspeople flocked to see this wonder, after which Antony accused them that the fish were more receptive to his message than the heretics in the church, how moved the people were to listen to his message .

In another oft-told story, which took place in Toulouse, Anthony of Padua was challenged by a heretic to prove the reality of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. The man, who was trying to make fun of Antoine, took out a half-starved mule and showed it fresh fodder on the one hand, and the sacramental host on the other. The mule is said to have ignored the fodder and, instead of eating either, bowed to the sacrament.

Another account tells of an occasion in Italy when Antony dined with heretics. He realized that the food they presented to him was poisoned and he confronted them. The men admitted to trying to kill him, but then challenged him to eat if he really believed the words spoken in Mark 16:18 about Christ's apostles: "...and if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them. Antoine is said to have blessed the food, ate it, and suffered no harm, much to the amazement of his hosts.

Antony fell ill with ergotism in 1231 and went to the woods retreat at Camposampiero with two other brothers for respite. There he lived in a room built for him under the branches of a walnut tree. Antony died on his way back to Padua on June 13, 1231 at the Monastery of the Poor Clares of Arcella (now part of Padua), aged 35.

In accordance with his request, Antony was buried in the small church of Santa Maria Mater Domini (probably dating from the end of the 12th century) and near a convent which he had founded in 1229. Nevertheless, due to his increased notoriety , construction of a The Great Basilica began around 1232, although it was not completed until 1301. The smaller church was incorporated into the structure as the Cappella della Madonna Mora (Chapel of the Black Virgin). The basilica is known today as “Il Santo” (The Saint).

Miscellaneous legends also surround the death of Antoine. It is said that when he died, children wept in the streets and all the church bells rang of their own accord. Another one legend relates to his language. He was buried in a chapel which became part of the basilica, where his tongue, jaw and vocal cords were symbolically chosen as relics of veneration (as was the tradition in medieval times) to be displayed. in a large reliquary. When his body was exhumed 30 years after his death, it was found reduced to dust, but the tongue would have glowed and looked like it was still part of a living body; another assertion being made that it was a sign of his gift of preaching. On January 1, 1981, Pope John Paul II authorized a scientific team to study Antony's remains, and the tomb was opened five days later.

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Today, Christians celebrate Saint Anthony of Padua. It is notably the subject of chapters 39 and 40 of the legendary stories The Fioretti of Saint Francis of Assisi. Depicted as a young, slender man holding in his arms the Child Jesus seated on a Bible, he is one of the most popular saints. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #padua #antoniodipadova #lisbon #13June

Anthony of Padua Anthony of Padua