Tag Archives: St. Anthony of Padua

The Pauper Theologian: St. Anthony of Padua

AnthonyofPauduaToday the Church celebrates the feast of one of the earliest Franciscan saints and a Doctor of the Church, Saint Anthony of Padua. More than aiding one to find lost articles, St. Anthony led a remarkable life that was spurred by an encounter he had with the Franciscan protomartyrs.

St. Anthony was born into a prominent family in Lisbon, Portugal in the year 1195. At the age of fifteen, he joined an Augustinian monastery where he studied intensely and was ordained a priest. His life was changed forever, however, when he encountered the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs who had been tortured and beheaded in Morocco for their preaching.

Inspired to preach the Good News like the Franciscan protomartyrs, St. Anthony gained permission to leave the Augustinian Monastery and become a Franciscan. He then went to Morocco where he became ill and was forced to return to his homeland. On his return journey, however, strong winds forced him and his companions to land in Sicily where he eventually attended the Pentecost Chapter of Mats. Saint Anthony continued to live as an obscure Franciscan friar until he was asked to give a sermon at a meeting with a group of Dominicans. The depth of his knowledge and holiness shone throughout his speech and he was assigned to preach in northern Italy.

St. Anthony quickly became renowned throughout Christendom for his preaching which he nurtured through his deep prayer life and studies. He died at the age of 36 and was canonized in less than one year. Over three hundred years after his death, St. Anthony’s body was exhumed and his tongue was found to be incorrupt, a testament to his teachings.

Conventual FranciscansThis early Franciscan saint is especially honored among the Conventual Franciscans who have custody of the basilica in Padua where his relics reside. They continue to promote education and study amongst friars especially those in formation like Br. Bernard Fonkalsrud OFM. Conv. who said, “the Conventual Franciscans have always encouraged our friars to seek to learn, inspired by ‘il Santo’ who was really the first Franciscan theologian and teacher. St. Francis entrusted St. Anthony to teach the friars, so long as it did not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotedness. We can see products of this mindset through such examples as St. Bonaventure, Bl. Duns Scotus and St. Maximilian Kolbe.” Br. Bernard and the Conventual Franciscans continue to lead lives inspired by St. Anthony of Padua who himself was inspired by the holiness of earlier Franciscans.

St. Anthony Comes Around

Last Sunday and Monday, we at the IRL who lodge at the Conventual Franciscan Friary at Marytown, were blessed to be able to view and venerate the relics of St. Anthony of Padua which are on tour from Padua, Italy. Throughout the two days, there were masses, vespers, adoration, and many people who came to be near the earthly remains of this very popular Franciscan priest and Doctor of the Church.

As you can see from the picture, the reliquary is stunning. May this patron saint of lost articles and this so eloquent evangelist for the Faith, intercede for us this day and help us throughout our lives.

Here is a St. Anthony Novena:

Novena to Saint Anthony for Any Need

St. Anthony, you are glorious for your miracles and for the condescension of Jesus Who came as a little child to lie in your arms. Obtain for me from His bounty the grace which I ardently desire. You were so compassionate toward sinners, do not regard my unworthiness. Let the glory of God be magnified by you in connection with the particular request that I earnestly present to you.

[State your request here.]


As a pledge of my gratitude, I promise to live more faithfully in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and to be devoted to the service of the poor whom you loved and still love so greatly. Bless this resolution of mine that I may be faithful to it until death.

St. Anthony, consoler of all the afflicted, pray for me.

St. Anthony, helper of all who invoke you, pray for me.

St. Anthony, whom the Infant Jesus loved and honored so much, pray for me. Amen.



A Powerhouse Saint

The relics of St Anthony of Padua are on the move! Specifically on the move to several locations between Milwaukee and Chicago during June. The tour celebrates the 750th anniversary of the discovery of the relics by St. Bonaventure, then Minister General of the Friars Minor. I was fascinated to read that when St. Anthony’s body was exhumed and examined, it was found to be mostly bones and ashes with one amazing exception: his tongue was perfectly intact! St. Bonaventure exclaimed: “Oh blessed tongue, that ever praised the Lord, and led others to praise Him! Now it is clear how great are your merits before God!”

Why the tongue? Perhaps because St. Anthony was such a powerful and persuasive preacher who brought many into the faith. It was in September in the year 1222, that the young friar was suddenly thrust into the limelight when he was asked at the 11th hour to give a sermon that no one else was prepared to give. His eloquence and knowledge startled those in attendance and his quiet life was no more. In 1931, the seven-hundredth anniversary of his death, in recognition of his profound gifts to the Church, he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.

Franciscan scholar Sophronius Clasen,o.f.m., wrote: “Immediately after his death, Anthony became the object of an extraordinary devotion; and miracle followed miracle, as the prayers of the sick and afflicted were answered by sudden cures and other wonders. This set on foot a great wave of enthusiasm, and drew large crowds to his tomb, who began to honor him as a Saint even before the Pope had canonized him.” Today, he is still a miracle-worker and his name is invoked for lost articles and for all the poor and oppressed. Father Mario Conte, a Franciscan and executive editor of the Messenger of St. Anthony magazine in Padua who is traveling with the relics, said the exhibition is attracting large crowds. “Somehow,” he said, “people feel that St. Anthony is a friend, he is almost a member of their family, a brother. ”

We at the IRL are blessed to have the relics at Marytown in Libertyville, IL, from June 9th to the 10th.  On Sunday, the 9th, there will be vespers at 7:00 pm while on Monday, there will be day-long veneration of the relics and three masses will be celebrated. A beautiful gift for a loved one, living or deceased, is to enroll them in the the St. Anthony Holy Mass League, canonically established by the Conventual Franciscan Friars in 1937. Mass is offered daily all members with a special remembrance on Tuesdays, in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. This tour and the people who come seeking his intercession is a powerful reminder of what a powerhouse of a friend we have in heaven.