Saint Anthony of Padua, 1195-1231
Fernando Martins de Bulhões was the son of a very wealthy noble family. Although his family expected him to follow in the family business, he became an Augustinian priest instead.
One day, Anthony met five Franciscan friars who were going to Morocco to preach to the Muslims. A year later, he learned they had been martyred. He was so impressed with their faith and bravery; he decided to become a Franciscan himself, taking the name Anthony after Saint Anthony the Great.
He was assigned to a kind of early hospital located in the countryside, where he studied and worked in the kitchen. One day, when no one was prepared to give a sermon, Anthony was asked to preach whatever the Holy Spirit told him to say. His homily was so impressive that eventually Saint Francis had him train young men to become Franciscan priests. Pope Gregory IX was amazed by his preaching, calling him “a jewel case of the Bible.” His sermons were collected into a book called Sermons for Feast Days.
When he was only 36 years old, Anthony became ill and died at a monastery near Padua. He is buried in a large church built to honor him. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX, less than a year after his death. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1946 and today is especially remembered as the patron saint of finding lost objects.
Discuss: If you were asked to give a sermon, what would you want to say?
Recovery of Lost Objects
Explain to the young people that many people pray to Saint Anthony to help them find lost objects. This comes from a legend that, long after Saint Anthony’s death, his old prayer book was kept as a treasured relic, and one day it disappeared. People prayed for help in finding the prayer book. A novice found and returned it. The novice later admitted that he had “borrowed” the book and returned it after receiving a vision of an angry Saint Anthony.