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Saint Anthony was a 13th century Franciscan Monk, Preacher and miracle worker. His birth name was Franciscan Thaumaturgust. When Franciscan Thaumaturgust became a Franciscan monk he was given the name of Anthony. Saint Anthony was born nearly 800 years ago in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal. Saint Anthony was loyal to his church and deeply in love with God. His knowledge of the scripture and insight was incredible. According to Nugent, he was called in his day ” The Hammer of Heretics” and “The Ark of the Testament.” (Nugent XIV).
According to Steinbrock, Saint Anthony became a Franciscan monk because of the death in 1220 of five Franciscan monks (St. Bernard, St. Peter, St. Otho, St. Accursius, and St. Adjutus) who had been completely faithful to the Catholic Church. They were decapitated and their bodies were mutilated in Morocco, North Africa. Saint Anthony, wanting to follow in their footsteps of martyrdom, became a Franciscan monk. After the joining the Franciscan order, he only lived for ten more years (Steinbrock).
Saint Anthony believed that a preacher’s goal must be to bring listeners to repentance and a total and genuine desire to turn away from sin, not just major sins, but all sins. Saint Anthony practiced sincere sorrow, through confession and designed all of his sermons around penance, with the intention of amendment and sorrow when confessing sin. (Nugent XIV)
According to Saunders, “St. Anthony was credited with many miracles during his lifetime.” One miracle happened in Limoges, France while he was preaching on Holy Thursday at St. Pierre du Queriox Church. During his sermon he remembered that he was supposed to sing a lesson in the Divine Office, back where he lived at his monastery. It was then reported that he appeared simultaneously preaching in the church and singing the lesson at the monastery (Saunders).
Another miracle attributed to St. Anthony is that he received an apparition of Baby Jesus. One night before Saint Anthony went to bed he decided to read the Bible. All of a sudden while reading, he saw Baby Jesus lying on the Bible and in his arms. Baby Jesus began touching and loving St. Anthony’s face. This is why most photos of Saint Anthony are of him holding the Baby Jesus (Saunders).
On October 3, 1226 Anthony traveled through La Provence, and returned to Italy. During this expedition another miracle happened to him. St. Anthony was burnt out by the long journey. He and his accomplice entered the house of a poor woman and she offered them wine and bread. In her haste to serve them the women forgot to cap the wine-barrel. St. Anthony’s accomplice then broke his wine glass. Anthony immediately began to pray. Suddenly the glass was magically put back together in front of their eyes, and the empty barrel went from no wine to full with wine (Knight).
Saint Anthony was elected Minister Provincial of Emilia after his return from Italy. But on May 30th, 1230 he decided to spend more time preaching so he resigned the office at the General Chapter of Assisi, and retired to the Convent of Padua. The last Lent he preached was in 1231. Over 30,000 people came from all parts of the world to see and hear him speak. The last sermons for Saint Anthony spoke of the wrongness of hatred and enmity. (Knight)
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Saint Anthony became very ill in 1231 and went to the woodland retreat, Camposampiero with two other monks for relaxation. Anthony lived in a cell built for him under the branches of a walnut tree. After his stay on the way back to Padua, Saint Anthony died at age 35. On the 13th of June in 1231, at the Poor Clare convent at Arcella, the great speaker was announced dead (Nugent 79).
According to Saunders, right after his death the children in the streets started crying, “The holy Father is dead. St. Anthony is dead.” Thirty years upon his burial, people opened his vault and found his body had vanished in thin air, except for his tongue. St. Bonaventure grabbed the tongue and kissed it. According to Saunders, Saint Bonaventure then exclaimed, “O Blessed tongue that had always praised the Lord, and made others bless Him, now it is evident what great merit thou hast before God.” To this day, many people have received miracles at the tomb of St. Anthony in Padua (Saunders).
According to Saunders, “Pope Pius XII declared St. Anthony a Doctor of the Church on January 16, 1946.” Many people around the world continue to pray to St. Anthony for strength and sorrowful repentance, as well as for help in finding lost items (Saunders).
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