Statue of St. Anthony of Padua, Wylie, TexasSt. Anthony of Padua is one of our most beloved and revered saints, and we commemorate him today.  Born to Portuguese nobility, he was a learned, gentle, but also very fervent man.  Witnessing the return of the bodies of Franciscan martyrs who were killed in northern Africa inspired him to become a Franciscan friar and follow in their footsteps.  However, he was destined to remain in Europe, living and working in Italy and southern France.  While at first, he lived as a simple friar, his great knowledge and gift for speaking was soon discovered, and he went about preaching, evangelizing, and seeking the conversion of heretics.  In fact, this gentle young man became known as “The Hammer of the Heretics.”

He is well-known for the story of his visitation by the Christ Child.  It is said that St. Anthony was so good and so loving that Christ desired to be held in his arms.

He is also well-known for being the patron saint of lost things.  It is said that his breviary, his one treasured possession, was stolen one day.  He prayed very hard for its safe return, and the thief was stricken with remorse and did return the book to Anthony.  So, the next time you lose something, you might call upon him to help you find it or see to its safe return.

St. Anthony has always been especially dear to me, because I grew up in St. Anthony’s Parish (Wylie, Texas). I always loved to admire his statue that stood near the church (seen above).  He has long been a spiritual friend and father to me.  He has helped me through many difficult times.

May the love and prayers and assistance of dear St. Anthony be with you all, today and every day!