Stewardship Saint – Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua is one the
most beloved and admired saints
in the Church. A Franciscan friar
and a Doctor of the Church, he
is considered one of the greatest
preachers in the history of
Christianity.
Anthony was born on the
Feast of the Assumption in
Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195 to a
wealthy and educated family
of the Portuguese nobility. He
entered the Augustinian religious
community at an early age
where he devoted himself to the
study of sacred scripture and
Latin classics. He felt a call to
missionary work, however, and was given permission to join the Franciscan
Order when he was 26 years old.
Anthony traveled tirelessly to preach what it meant to live according
to the Gospel. He is believed to have made as many as 400 trips to towns
in both northern Italy and southern France where he attracted people by
the thousands. He was so popular a preacher that he often had to speak in
public squares and marketplaces rather than churches.
Anthony knew that preaching was not enough to help people
understand how to follow Jesus Christ. He believed he had to give witness
to the Gospel by the way he lived his personal life. So, he adopted and
maintained a simple lifestyle consistent with what he believed the Gospel
was calling him to. He became one of Francis of Assisi’s favorite disciples
and closest friend.
The last months of Anthony’s life were lived in Padua, Italy, with
preaching, hearing confessions, and assisting those in debt. He died there
on June 13, 1231 at the age of 36 and was proclaimed a saint less than one
year after his death. So simple, yet compelling and inspiring was Anthony’s
teaching of the Catholic faith that he was declared a Doctor of the Church
in 1946.
Anthony is best known as the saint to whom one prays to find a lost
article. When a novice took his Psalter without permission, Anthony prayed
for the book’s return. After the novice was visited by a ghost in a frightening
nightmare, he rushed to give the book back to Anthony. Many people do
not know, though, that St. Anthony is the patron of other causes. He is the
patron saint of Brazil and Portugal, the poor, barren women, harvests and
those who travel. His feast day is June 13.