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The Life of Saint Anthony of Padua

Early Life

Saint Anthony of Padua, originally named Fernando Martins de Bulhões, was born on August 15, 1195, in Lisbon, Portugal. Born into a wealthy and noble family, he received a high-quality education at the local cathedral school. At the age of 15, he joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at the Abbey of Saint Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon. Later, seeking a more contemplative life, he transferred to the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, where he immersed himself in theological studies​ (Wikipedia)​​ (Encyclopedia.com)​.

Joining the Franciscans

In 1220, inspired by the martyrdom of five Franciscan friars in Morocco, Fernando decided to join the newly founded Franciscan Order. He adopted the name Anthony, after Saint Anthony the Great, and set out for Morocco to continue the friars' mission. However, a serious illness forced him to return to Europe. His ship was blown off course, and he ended up in Sicily. From there, he traveled to Assisi, where he attended a general chapter meeting of the Franciscans in 1221​ (Wikipedia)​​ (Catholic Online)​.

Preaching and Teaching

Initially, Anthony lived a quiet life of prayer and study at a small hermitage in Italy. His eloquence and deep understanding of scripture were soon recognized, and he began to preach and teach publicly. His sermons were noted for their clarity and ability to convey complex theological concepts to a lay audience. He became one of the most famous preachers of his time, attracting large crowds wherever he spoke​ (EWTN Global Catholic Television Network)​​(Encyclopedia.com)​.

Miracles and Canonization

Saint Anthony is often called the "miracle worker" due to the many miracles attributed to him, both during his lifetime and posthumously. He is particularly well-known for his role in returning lost items, a reputation that led to his invocation as the patron saint of lost things. Anthony died on June 13, 1231, in Arcella, Italy, at the age of 35. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232, less than a year after his death. In 1946, Pope Pius XII declared him a Doctor of the Church for his contributions to theology and preaching​ (Encyclopedia Britannica)​​ (Catholic Online)​.

Legacy

Saint Anthony's legacy endures in the many churches, schools, and institutions named in his honor. His feast day is celebrated on June 13, and he remains a beloved figure in Catholicism, revered for his scholarly work, powerful preaching, and numerous miracles​ (EWTN Global Catholic Television Network)​​ (Encyclopedia.com)​.

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