Prayer for the Intercession of
December 13, 1992
Brother John Raymond
St. Anthony of Padua is known for his intercession in helping
people find something that is lost. Last winter St. Anthony was
given a big challenge here at the monastery. A Brother had lost an
eyeglass lens while walking out in the snow. The odds of finding it
were not very good. So I told St. Anthony that if I found it I would
write about him. Well, sure enough, I found it. So here is his
St. Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. His baptismal
name was Ferdinand. He was of a noble family. Anthony's parents
entrusted his early education to the clergy of the Cathedral. At the
age of fifteen Anthony joined a religious community called the
Canons of St. Augustine. Two years later he asked to be transferred
to the priory in Coimbra to avoid the numerous visits of friends. It
was here in Coimbra that Anthony, who was especially gifted with
memory, began to memorize the entire Bible.
Eight years later a member of the Order brought to Portugal
relics of Franciscan Martyrs of Morocco. St. Anthony, having an
ardent desire to give his life for Christ, decided the Franciscans
were a better prospect for martyrdom than the Augustinians. So in
1221 he transferred to the Franciscans. It was with them that he
took the religious name "Anthony."
His dream of martyrdom seemed to be in his grasp a short time
later when he was allowed to go to Morocco. He sailed by ship but
along the way he fell seriously ill. So before reaching his
destination St. Anthony had to return home on another ship. His
return trip was detoured by a storm which caused them to land in
Sicily. Upon leaving the ship he made his way to Assisi where he met
St. Francis during a General Chapter Meeting of the Order. After the
meeting was over St. Anthony was appointed to make a retreat at the
hermitage of San Paolo. It happened that an ordination of Dominicans
and Franciscans was taking place close by and St. Anthony attended.
He was chosen to speak at the ceremony. His sermon was so impressive
that he was recalled from his retreat to preach in various parts of
Lombardy, Italy. Also he was appointed lector (or teacher) of
theology for the Order, being the first to have this position.
It was his ability as a preacher that made St. Anthony famous.
Crowds would come to hear him. Many would be converted by his
sermons. After the death of St. Francis he was made Provincial. But
he asked Pope Gregory IX in 1226 to release him from this office so
that he could continue preaching. Permission was granted and from
that time on St. Anthony lived at Padua.
In 1231 St. Anthony's health began to fail. He went with two
other friars to make a retreat at Camposanpiero. It soon became
evident that he was seriously ill. He wanted to return to Padua but
he never reached it. On June 13 in the chaplain's quarters of a Poor
Clare Convent in Arcella he died. He was only thirty-six years old.
Within one year of his death he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX.
In 1946 Pope Pius XII declared him a Doctor of the Church.
Prayer to St. Anthony
Great St. Anthony, who has received from God a special power to
recover lost things, help me that I may find that which I am now
seeking. Obtain for me also, an active faith and perfect docility to
the inspirations of grace.
St. Anthony, help me to remember and cherish Holy Scripture. I
implore you especially, great patron of the lost, that you guide my
steps through life that I may find the path to Heaven so that there
with you and all the saints I may praise the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit forever. Amen.