St. Anthony of Padua 1195-1231
Fernando Martins de Bulhões was born in Lisbon, Portugal. His wealthy family did not want him to enter religious life, yet he entered the Congregation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Until he came across the relics of St. Berard and companions, the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order who had been preaching the Gospel to Muslims in Morocco. Anthony felt a deep calling to missionary work in Africa and a desire to suffer martyrdom. He joined the Franciscans soon after.
Due to illness, Anthony did not have much of an opportunity to live out this dream. However, it was soon discovered that Anthony had a great give for preaching for which St. Francis ordered that he preach all over Italy. His brothers soon requested that he teach theology and St. Francis approved as long as, ” the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the other brethren.” He spent days teaching and evenings hearing confessions and in prayer. Anthony died at age 36 on June 13, 1231 due to rigorous penance practices. Pope Gregory IX named him a saint the next year. He is known as the wonderworker due to so many miracles being attributed to him. Many call upon St. Anthony to assist with finding lost items as well as a matchmaker who will help them find the person they will marry.
Photo by Kevin Dooley