Saint Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal. He was born into a wealthy family and by the
age of fifteen asked to be sent to the Abbey of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, the then capital of Portugal. During
his time in the Abbey, he learned theology and Latin.
Following his ordination to the priesthood, he was named guestmaster and was responsible for the abbey's
hospitality. When Franciscan friars settled a small hermitage outside Coimbra dedicated to Saint Anthony of
Egypt, Fernando felt a longing to join them.
Fernando eventually received permission to leave the Abbey so he could join the new Franciscan Order.
When he was admitted, he changed his name to Anthony.
Anthony then traveled to Morocco to spread God's truth, but became extremely sick and was returned to
Portugal to recover. The return voyage was blown off-course and the party arrived in Sicily, from which they
traveled to Tuscany. Anthony was assigned to the hermitage of San Paolo after local friars considered his
As he recovered, Anthony spent his time praying and studying.
Soon, news of his eloquence reached Francis of Assisi, and in Anthony, he found a friend.
When a novice decided to leave the hermitage, he stole Anthony's valuable book. When Anthony discovered
it was missing, he prayed it would be found or returned to him. The thief did return the book and in an extra
step returned to the Order as well.
So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, most unlettered and the innocent could
understand his messages. It is for this reason he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in
Once, when St. Anthony of Padua attempted to preach the true Gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics
who would not listen to him, he went out and preached his message to the fish. This was not, as liberals and
naturalists have tried to say, for the instruction of the fish, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the
angels, and the easing of his own heart. When critics saw the fish begin to gather, they realized they should
also listen to what Anthony had to say.
He was only 36-years-old when he died and was canonized less than one year afterward by Pope Gregory IX.
Upon exhumation some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was
totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.
Prayer to St. Anthony
Saint Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find (mention your petition) which has been lost. As least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss.
To this favor I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen.