St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231 AD)
Feast Day: June 13
Doctor of the Church: 1946
Born Fernando Bouillon, St. Anthony of Padua has become one of the most popular saints in history — in large part because he is looked to for help when someone is trying to find something. But he is much more than the patron saint of those who chronically misplace their car keys!
Fernando was a devout child who entered an Augustinian order when he was 15. He encountered five Franciscans on their way to preach the gospel in Muslim lands. When he saw these five martyrs return as “first class relics,” he was so moved that he decided to become a Franciscan and follow their footsteps.
He took the name Anthony and was given permission to preach in Morocco, but illness and violent storms prevented his journey. His superiors assigned him humble tasks. However, when the coordinators of an ordination realized they had forgotten to assign someone to preach, they frantically looked for a priest to fill the job. They eventually turned to the humble Anthony and told him to say whatever the Holy Spirit put in his mouth. The rest is history. Anthony became one of the most beloved preachers in Europe; St. Francis of Assisi made him the Franciscans’ theology teacher.
Anthony’s preaching drew on the vast amounts of scripture and Church Fathers he had memorized (perhaps this is why he is called upon when we forget where we put something), but most of all, from a life of deep holiness.
Anthony died in 1231 at the age of 36. When his body was transferred to Padua in 1263, his tongue was found incorrupt. To this day, that incorrupt tongue remains a testament to the power of the word of God entrusted to men.
This column is produced for Legatus by the Dead Theologians Society, a Catholic apostolate for high school age teens and college age young adults. On the web: deadtheologianssociety.com.