Anthony of Padua, St.

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Franciscan Doctor of the Church; b. Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 15?, 1195; d. Arcella, near Padua, Italy, June 13, 1231.

Life. At the age of 15, Anthony, the son of noble parents, entered the monastery of the canons Regular of São Vicente in Lisbon. After two years he came to S. Cruz in Coimbra, the study house of the Augustinian Canons, and there became expert in Sacred Scripture. Disappointed with the religious spirit of his monastery, which was under the patronage of the Portuguese court, and inspired by the news of the first Franciscan martyrs in Morocco, Anthony joined the franciscans at the friary of San Antonio in Coimbra (1220). At his own request, he was sent as a missionary to Morocco, but he was forced by illness to return; his boat, however, was driven off course, and he landed in Sicily. Arriving in Italy as an unknown, he took part in the famous chapter of the Mats at the Portiuncula (1221) and was affiliated to the Franciscan province of Romagna. For a time he resided in solitude and penance in the hermitage of Monte Paolo near Forlì. At his ordination he was recognized as an inspiring preacher and was commissioned to preach against the heretics in northern Italy (122224) and against the albigenses in southern France (1224). From 1227 to 1230 his preaching activity brought him back to Italy, and during the Lent of 1231 he preached daily in Padua.

In 1223 francis of assisi appointed Anthony the first professor of theology for the friars; he is credited with introducing the theology of St. augustine into the Franciscan Order. During his brief career Anthony was guardian in Le Puy, custos in Limoges, and provincial in the Romagna. The furious pace of his activities completely mined his feeble health; he died at the age of 36. At his canonization, May 30, 1232, Gregory IX declared him to be a "teacher of the Church," and Pius XII (Jan. 16, 1946) made him a Doctor of the Church with the title Doctor evangelicus.

Cultus. In popular devotion Anthony is venerated as the apostle of charity, invoked in both spiritual and temporal needs (the finder of lost objects; patron of lovers, of marriage, of pregnant women; as a helper against diabolic obsession, fever, animal diseases; as the patron of miners). The blessing of St. Anthony has become popular in all the above instances. His veneration as an effective preacher, added to his other titles of respect, have to a great extent caused the saint of Padua to displace St. anthony of egypt in popular esteem. Special forms of veneration are the St. Anthony Bread (alms given to the poor in his name to beg his intercession) and the Prayer League of St. Anthony (both in vogue since the end of the 19th century); the Tuesday devotion to St. Anthony (since the 17th century), because his burial day (June 17, 1231) fell on a Tuesday; his veneration as an admiral by the Portuguese (because of their victory over the French in 1710) and by the Spanish (because of the expulsion of the Moors from Oran in 1732).

In iconography he is variously symbolized according to his many activities: with book or cross for the teacher or preacher, a flame or a burning heart for the former Augustinian or the apostle of charity, and with a lily or the Christ Child for the saint. From the 13th century the liturgy for the Mass and Office of his feast was that of the common of a Doctor of the Church, still employed within the Franciscan Order. In the 16th-century liturgical reform of Pius V, the feast was suppressed, except within the order and in Portugal and Brazil. In 1585, however, Sixtus V restored the feast to the universal Church, with the liturgy taken from the common of a confessor.

Feast: June 13.

Bibliography: s. clasen, ed., Antonius Patavinus: Lehrer des Evangeliums (Werl 1954). c. jarmak, If You Seek Miracles: Reflections of Saint Anthony of Padua (Padua 1998). c. jarmak, Saint Anthony: Herald Of The Good News (Ellicot City, MD 1995). b. przewosny, tr. Life of St. Anthony: Assidua 1232 (Padua 1984). l. poloniato, ed., c. jarmak, l. frasson, b. przewosny, tr., Anthony of Padua. Seek First His Kingdom (Padua 1988). g. marcil, Anthony of Padua: Sermons for the Easter Cycle (St. Bonaventure, NY 1994). c. jarmak, tr. Anthony of Padua. Praise To You Lord: Prayers Of St. Anthony (Padua 1986).

[s. clasen]