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About St. Anthony of Padua

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Stained Glass Window featuring St. AnthonyThe image of St. Anthony is well-known worldwide, and many people may know a variation of a little prayer asking St. Anthony’s help in finding lost things. But who was this man, and how is it that he is still so loved and respected almost 800 years after his death?

St. Anthony was born in Portugal in 1195, where his father was a captain in the royal army. He joined the Augustinian Order as a young man, but left it in order to join the newly-founded Franciscan Order in 1221, at age 26. When he was still in the Augustinians, the bodies of five Franciscan friars who had been martyred in Morocco, North Africa, were brought to the monastery where St. Anthony lived on their way to their burial place. St. Anthony decided he wanted to become a Franciscan in the hopes of shedding his blood for Christ and becoming a martyr, too. He went to Africa to preach; however, he came down with an illness that weakened him for life. While traveling back to Portugal, his boat was thrown off course by a storm, and he landed in Sicily, where he was welcomed and sent to Assisi to live with the Franciscans there.

Given the task of household labors, St. Anthony grew in holiness by doing the menial tasks in a humble fashion. He was never given an education in preaching, and yet, on one occasion, when the priest who was to give the sermon for an ordination ceremony fell ill, St. Anthony was chosen to give the sermon. He agreed to out of obedience, though he had never given a sermon in public before. His eloquence, intelligence, and humility amazed all in attendance, and he was soon given permission from St. Francis of Assisi to go out and preach among the peoples of Padua, Italy.

Anthony Preaching to the FishesEarning the nickname the “Hammer of Heretics,” St. Anthony was very firm in his great protection for the teachings of the Church, while still explaining them in a simple and innocent manner meant to be understood by all. People would come from miles around and fill churches to listen to him. His teachings encouraged people to reconcile with one another and seek holiness in all their daily tasks. Once when the people would not listen to him, he turned and began preaching to the fishes (which poked their heads out of the water to listen), in an effort to continue sharing the Word of God as his heart was so impassioned to do. His teachings earned him the title of Doctor of the Church in 1946.

Once while a visitor was staying with St. Anthony, he came upon the saint holding in his arms the Child Jesus, who was beautiful and surrounded with heavenly light. It is because of this event that St. Anthony is often depicted holding the Child Jesus in his arms.

St. Anthony died at the age of 36, after living a life filled with taxing labors and a body weakened by illness. Upon his death, the children in Padua went through the streets crying “The saint is dead. Anthony is dead.” He was canonized a saint one year after his death by Pope Gregory IX. Upon exhumation of his body 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupt; however, his tongue was completely intact, symbolic of the great teachings which were formed upon it. So many miracles have been attributed to his burial place that he has earned the title of the “Wonder-worker.” His feast day is June 13.

Anthony holding the child jesusThe Patronage of St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony of Padua is known as the patron saint of: animals, the elderly, expectant mothers, infertility, lost articles, the poor, sailors, the starving, travelers, and unmarried women.

St. Anthony in Art

St. Anthony of Padua is often depicted in the brown habit of a Franciscan. His head features the “tonsure,” in which all or part of the hair is removed as a sign of religious devotion and humility. He carries lilies as a sign of his purity, and often holds a book, showing that he is a Doctor of the Church. The most common image of St. Anthony pictures him holding the Child Jesus in his arms.

Prayers of St. Anthony 

Let Saint Anthony be your partner in prayer as you say one of the prayers below or as part of your rosary devotion. Find Saint Anthony Rosary Beads here.

St. Anthony the Wonder-Worker
Holy Saint Anthony, gentle and powerful in your help, 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 always ready to request for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me [request]. The answer to my prayer may require a miracle. Even so, you are the Saint of miracles. Gentle and loving Saint Anthony, whose heart is ever full of human sympathy, take my petition to the Infant Savior for whom you have such a great love, and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.

Saint Anthony

Prayer to St. Anthony to Find Lost Articles

Dear Saint Anthony, you are the patron of the poor and the helper of all who seek lost articles. Help me to find the object I have lost so that I will be able to make better use of the time I will gain for God's greater honor and glory. Grant your gracious aid to all people who seek what they have lost - especially those who seek to regain God's grace. Amen.



"Something is lost and can't be found
Please, St. Anthony, look around"



The Blessing of St. Anthony

Behold, the Cross of the Lord!
Begone, all evil powers!
The Lion of the tribe of Judah,
The Root of David, has conquered!
Alleluia, Alleluia!