St. Anthony of Padua

Brother Craig Driscoll

June 7, 1998

Later this week, on June 13, the Church will celebrate the memorial for a very beloved Saint—Anthony of Padua. Of course, I really love this Saint because he helps me find things! Sometimes it's the car keys. Most often it's a certain paper I need, a letter or a magazine. Many people turn to St. Anthony to find what they have lost.

When I was a child I had a very special teacher, Mrs. Beale. She was a Protestant. She loved St. Anthony. When she visited Padua, Italy, she insisted on getting off the bus early because she wanted to walk partway to his shrine in thanksgiving.

I, too, have visited Padua and the shrine of him whom the Italians call "Il Santo", the Saint. They need no name to identify him. In the great basilica is the tomb of St. Anthony and in a special reliquary is his tongue found incorrupt long after he was buried—a symbol of his great preaching. It was the sermons of this Saint that earned him the title Doctor of the Church.

St. Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195. He studied with priests of the Lisbon cathedral and then joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at fifteen. He was ordained in 1219 or 1220. In 1221 he transferred to the Franciscans. He attended the General Chapter in Assisi where he met St. Francis. At an ordination St. Anthony was asked to preach and it was discovered that he was an excellent preacher. St. Francis gave him the mission to preach all throughout Italy. He brought about many conversions. Deadly enemies were reconciled. Thieves made restitution.

Once, at Rimini on the sea-coast, heretics refused to listen to his preaching. St. Anthony called out to the fish in the ocean and many of them came and thrust their heads out of the water and listened to the Saint. This caused the heretics to ask St. Anthony to instruct them in the truth.

Once someone, in whose home the Saint was staying, saw St. Anthony holding the Child Jesus. Statues of the Saint often show him with the Child Jesus.

St. Anthony worked to abolish debtors prisons and greatly helped the poor. Now many people pray to St. Anthony and promise that if their prayers are answered they will give alms to the poor. This is called St. Anthony's bread.

In 1231, exhausted and plagued with dropsy, he went to Camposanpiero for a brief respite but died on the way back to Padua at a Poor Clare convent at Ariella just outside Padua on June 13 at the age of thirty six.

I think St. Anthony is great for families not only because most families often lose things. I think St. Anthony can help families find things other than car keys—as important as that is! He can help families find peace, harmony and time for family prayer and family activities. He can, if they pray to him, help families to find ways to serve the Church, engage in fruitful apostolates and work together to make their community a better place.

Prayer for Lost Objects

Saint Anthony, it seems that God has chosen you to remind us that he's not too busy to be concerned about the little problems of our life—when we lose our contact lenses, our wallets, our homework or our keys. help me to keep my calm and my common sense as I look for what I have lost. Help me to be a little better organized a little more careful in the future.

And while you're working on this loss, please help me also not to lose what is much more important: my gift of faith in a loving Father; my confidence in his endless mercy; my love for him in my brothers and sisters. Amen.