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Saint Anthony of Padua

Confessor and Doctor of the Church.  

Anthony of Padua who was Portuguese by birth, and baptized as Ferdinand, joined the Canons Regular in Portugal at the age of fifteen. But ten years later, when he was transferred to the Franciscan Order, he took the name of Anthony; and because he later lived in Padua, Italy, and is there buried in a famous shrine, he is surnamed from that town, whither pilgrimages come from all over the world to his tomb. He was a learned man, and holy, at the time he became a Franciscan. Which thing he did in hopes of being martyred as a preacher of Christ amongst the Saracens; but instead he was given lowly tasks by his superiors until they discovered that he was not only learned but humble. Whereupon he was sent on a preaching crusade through parts of Italy and France. And blessed Francis, who feared intellectual pride, feared not to give him a written warrant to teach theology, wherefrom he became the first Franciscan friar to act as a professor at any university, namely, at Bologna.

It is said that he knew all the Bible by heart; and the Pope, after hearing him preach, declared that in Anthony all the Scriptures were enshrined, as they were of old in the Ark of the Covenant. So truly did he love holiness and truth that he was a relentless preacher against both vice and heresy, therefrom he was nicknamed Everlasting-Hammer-of-the-Hereticks. All work ceased when he came to a town; and because the churches could not hold the crowds which flocked to him, he preached in the marketplaces; whereafter hereticks as well as Catholics thronged to him to be shriven. From a man so Christ-like, they expected Christ-like signs, and after his death he was entitled a wonder-worker.

It is related that once, in the Name of God, he stilled a storm which threatened to stop one of his open-air sermons; that another time, when the people would not come to hear him, he went to the riverside and preached to the fishes, which gathered there in great numbers to attend upon him; and that in his ecstasies of prayer the Lord came to him in the form of the Holy Child, because he had never lost his baptismal innocence. When he was sick unto death, he is said to have asked that a floor be put up in a tree, whereon he could lie, in the open air, and wait for death amidst the singing of the birds. He is venerated as the patron of the poor, and is believed, of his courtesy, to find lost things, specially lost souls, for those who invoke him to the glory of God. He died in 1231; and because he was venerated as Saint even before his death, he was formally canonized in the year following. In 1949 his Feast was ordered to be kept with the rite of a Doctor of the Church.

Collect

GRANT, O Lord, that the solemn festival of thy holy Confessor Saint Anthony may bring gladness to thy Church: that being defended by thy succour in all things spiritual; we may be found worthy to attain to everlasting felicity. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1242-1243

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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