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St. Anthony of Padua (June 13)

St. Anthony of Padua was born at Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. His surname comes from the Italian city where he lived the latter part of his life. His parents were of Portuguese nobility - his father being a knight at the court of King Alfonso II.

Anthony's early education took place at the cathedral of Lisbon. At the age of fifteen, he joined the Regular Canons of St. Augustine and was transferred to the monastery at Coimbra two years later because of distractions caused by his friends' visits. At the monastery, Anthony devoted himself to prayer and study and became a learned scholar of the Bible.

In 1220 Don Pedro of Portugal brought the relics of Franciscans who had been martyred to Coimbra. This had a tremendous effect on Anthony, who then requested admission to the Franciscans. He was accepted, and soon afterwards he set out for Morocco to preach the Gospel. On the way to Morocco, he was forced to return to Europe because of illness, but while on the return trip, a storm drove his ship to the shores of Italy where he would live for the rest of his life.  

Upon his return, Anthony went to Assisi, where he became renowned as a great preacher.  A gifted preacher, Anthony was also called upon to teach theology to his fellow Franciscans. He was the first member of the Franciscans to be so honored. He drew large crowds wherever he went in Italy, but his greatest success was in Padua where the entire city flocked to hear his word and they welcomed him as another St. Francis.

After the death of Francis, Anthony became the minister provincial of Emilia or Romagna. In 1226 he was elected as the envoy from the general chapter to Pope Gregory IX. Soon after, he was released from this duty so that he could continue his preaching. He returned to Padua, where he preached until his death - June 13, 1231- at the age of 36. He has been given the title - Doctor of the Church.‚Äč