St. Anthony of Padua

The Church all throughout the year celebrates the feast of saints so that we could imitate the virtues of the saint and become one. The month of June is known for the famous saint, The Saint Anthony of Padua. Everyone in Goa knows this wonderful Saint because of his miraculous nature especially when we lose something, we first remember St. Anthony.

St. Anthony of Padua was born Ferdinand Martin Bouillon on 15th August in Portugal. At the age of 15 he decided to become a Canon Regular of Saint Augustine. Seeking a life of solitude and devotion. Inspired by the Franciscans martyrs, Ferdinand obtained permission from his Augustinian superiors to leave the Canons Regular & joined the Franciscans in the year 1220, and took the name Anthony.

God’s plan was greater than St. Anthony’s Plan: Anthony then set out for Morocco to preach the Gospel to the Muslims. However, he fell seriously ill in Morocco and was persuaded to sail back for Portugal in hope of regaining his health. On the return voyage the ship was blown off course in a storm and landed in Sicily. From Sicily, Anthony made his way to Tuscany in northern Italy where he was assigned to a Franciscan monastery of San Paolo near Forlì.

God has a perfect timing for everything, just because things don’t work the way we think doesn’t mean God is not hearing us. We need to be patient and wait for the Almighty’s perfect plan.

He was Humble and had faith in God: St. Anthony at the Franciscan monastery of San Paolo near Forlì lived a humble life of a hermit and worked in the kitchen, until he was called to preach and he did it with such zeal that all realised his talent. One day, in 1222, in the town of Forli, on the occasion of an ordination, a number of visiting Dominican friars were present, and the priest who was to preach the sermon did not arrive, hence in their emergency they then chose Anthony to speak whatever the spirit of God might put into his mouth. Anthony, compelled by obedience, spoke at first slowly and timidly, but soon enkindled with fervour, he began to explain the most hidden sense of Holy Scripture with such profound erudition and sublime doctrine that all were struck with astonishment. It was this event that manifested the gift of St. Anthony.

Here we see two things, one is the humble nature of St. Anthony to work in the kitchen and the second is saying yes with faith when God gives him a chance. We need to be humble and waiting for the right time, but when God gives us the opportunity we need to have faith in Him and say yes. What would have happened if St. Anthony would say no that day to preach?. God works in our life only through our will, just like Mary said “I am the hand maid of God, may Your will be done unto me”.

The Miracle worker: St. Anthony was a living saint and His every uttered word was like a miracle. People who heard his sermons were instantly converted. The number of miracles that he performed during his life on earth was unaccountable. St. Anthony was canonized by Pope Gregory, IX on 30 May 1232, less than a year after his death, and is perhaps the most popular of all the Saints in Christendom. His tomb was opened some 30 years later and though his body had turned to dust, his tongue, the symbol of his sacred eloquence, was miraculously preserved. Saint Bonaventure kissed it and exclaimed:
“O, Blessed Tongue that always blessed the Lord and caused others to bless Him, now is it manifest how numerous your merits were before God.”

St. Anthony could work wondrous miracles because he was in every way attached to God and detached from the worldly pleasures. We need to do the same, especially during this pandemic phase we need to renew our life for a miracle to happen.

As we all intercede to St. Anthony let us vouch to inculcate his virtues of humility and submission to the will of God.

– Neville Fernandes