St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most famous disciples of St. Francis of Assisi. He was a famous preacher and worker of miracles in his own day, and throughout the eight centuries since his death he has so generously come to the assistance of the faithful who invoke him, that he is known throughout the world.
St. Anthony was born in the year 1195 AD at Lisbon (Portugal) where his father was a captain in the royal army. Already at the age of fifteen years, he had entered the Congregation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine and devoted himself with great earnestness both to study and to the practice of piety in the Monastery at Coimbra (Portugal).
In 1227 AD, St. Anthony was elected Minister Provincial of the friars living in northern Italy. Thus he resumed the work of preaching. Due to his taxing labours and his austere penance, he soon felt his strength so spent that he prepared himself for death. After receiving the last sacraments he kept looking upward with a smile on his countenance. When he was asked what he saw there, he answered: “I see my Lord.” He breathed forth his soul on June 13, 1231 AD.
Pope Gregory IX enrolled him among the saints in the very next year. At Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honour, his holy relics were entombed there in 1263 AD. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony’s intercession, so that he is known as the Wonder-Worker. In 1946 AD, St. Anthony was declared a Doctor of the Church.