Saint Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) was born in Lisbon, Portugal to a powerful yet pious family. At age 15 he relinquished a life of nobility, wealth, and honor, and chose instead to serve God with the Augustinians. Years later he witnessed the dead bodies of Franciscan friars who had been martyred by Muslims being carried through the town where he was stationed. Filled with renewed zeal to follow Christ even more completely after the example of these martyrs, St. Anthony joined the Franciscan order and traveled to Morocco to preach to the Moors. However, his poor health prevented his mission and he was forced to return to Italy. There he lived a largely quiet and secluded life, spending his time in prayer, study, and priestly duties. No one had any idea of St. Anthony’s giftedness as a preacher and teacher of theology until one day he was called upon to be a substitute preacher. He amazed everyone in attendance with his depth of knowledge and oratory skill. He then became the foremost preacher of the Franciscans and was sent to preach against the heretics and the vices of the day. His zeal and effectiveness as a preacher earned him the title "Hammer of the Heretics." St. Anthony was known for his holiness and miracles, and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946. He is the patron saint of the elderly, fishermen, and the poor, and is renowned as the finder of lost articles. His feast day is June 13.
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