Shrine of St. Frideswide, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, June 13.

Above and below: the Life and Miracles of St. Anthony. C.1515,  at the  monastery of Brou, Bourg-en- Bresse
Anthony was born into a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. As a child of a noble household he was sent to the Cathedral school in Lisbon and later joined the Augustinian Canons first of the Abbey of St. Vincent and then the more scholarly community of Santa Cruz in Coimbra. He was ordained but in 1221 he joined the Franciscans after seeing the bodies of several Christians martyred in Morocco. In was when he joined the Franciscan hermitage that he took the name of Anthony, after St. Anthony the Great (Bishop of Alexandria). Anthony left Portugal for Morocco but was driven to Italy in a storm where he joined a convent in Tuscany, living in deep prayer, study and contemplation. It was at this convent that he came to be known for his great preaching and later left the convent to preach the gospel throughout Tuscany. After meeting with the founder of his order he taught in Provence, France for the Church. He returned to Italy and in 1231 retired to a hermitage after falling ill. He died on this day, 1231 at a Poor Clare convent near Padua. He was canonized less than a yer after his death and a cult grew around the Church in Padua dedicated to him. The Church, begun in 1232, is now a basilica and houses the shrine of St. Anthony. In art St. Anthony is depicted reading a book where Christ is appearing to him, emphasizing the presence of Christ in the study and preaching of the Gospels.

     St. Anthony provides an example of how the Church should appear to the community. As a Franciscan an a scholar, he was vowed to apostolic poverty, living humbly like Christ and his disciples with the poor and oppressed and was dedicated to preaching the Gospels to bring comfort to the poor in spirit, to those who mourn, to the meek, to those who hunger for righteousness, to the merciful, to the pure in heart, to the peacemakers, and to those who are persecuted for their righteousness, all of whom Christ first spoke words of comfort. The Church must remember St. Anthony those like him for his Christ-like life so that it can best address the needs of all people as Christ would have. 

1 comment:

  1. It is with much pleasure that i have visited a site in honour of St Anthony of Padua. What the Lord has done through his intercession, is marvellous.
    I long to visit his Basilica in Italy.