Born: 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal
Died: June 13, 1231
St. Anthony’s wealthy family wanted him to be a great nobleman, but for the sake of Christ he became a poor Franciscan.
When the remain of Saint Bernard and his companions, the first Franciscan martyrs, were brought to be buried in his church, Anthony was moved to leave the Augustinian Order, enter the Friars Minor, and go to Morocco to evangelize when he was 26 years old. Shipwrecked in Sicily, he joined some other brothers who were going to Portiuncula. He lived in a cave in San Paolo leaving only to attend Mass and sweep the nearby monastery. One day when a scheduled speaker failed to appear, the brothers pressed him into speaking. He impressed them so that he was thereafter constantly traveling, evangelizing, preaching, and teaching theology through Italy and France.
A gifted speaker, he attracted crowds everywhere he went, speaking in multiple tongues; legend says that even the fish loved to listen. One of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are found everywhere. Simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, so that the most unlettered and innocent might understand it. Pope Pius XII proclaimed him a Doctor of the church on January 16, 1946. St. Anthony was canonized less than one year after his death at the age of 36.
St. Anthony is best known for his patronage of seekers of lost articles. Few people know that he is the patron of many other causes. He is the patron against shipwrecks, against starvation, American Indians, amputees, animals, Brazil, the elderly, expectant mothers, faith, faith in the Blessed Sacrament, fishermen, harvests, mail, mariners, oppressed people, poor people, Portugal, sailors, starving people, sterility, travel hostesses travelers, the Tigua Indians and of course, St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fresno, California.
Prayer to Saint Anthony
O Holy Saint Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and charity for His creatures made you worthy when on earth to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me…(Here mention your request.) The answer to my prayer may require a miracle; even so, you are the Saint of Miracles. O gentle and loving Saint Anthony, of whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms, and the gratitude of my heart will be ever yours. Amen.