Fernando Martins de Bulhões was born on 15 August 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal. to Vicente Martins and Teresa Pais Taveira.  His family arranged for him to be taught at the local cathedral school. At the age of 15, he entered the Augustinian community of Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross at the Abbey of Saint Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon. In 1212, he asked to be transferred to the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, then the capital of Portugal. There, young Fernando studied theology and Latin.

After his ordination to the priesthood, Fernando was named guest master at the age of 19, and placed in charge of hospitality for the abbey. While he was in Coimbra, some Franciscan friars arrived and settled at a small hermitage outside Coimbra dedicated to Anthony of Egypt Fernando was strongly attracted to the simple, evangelical lifestyle of the friars, and obtained permission from church authorities to leave the Canons Regular to join the new Franciscan order. Upon his admission to the life of the friars, he joined the small hermitage in Olivais, adopting the name Anthony (from the name of the chapel located there, dedicated to Anthony the Great), by which he was to be known.

He had set out with the intentions of starting his new vocation in Morrocco but fell ill there so decided to sail back to Portugal, where the ship was forced off course and he landed in Sicily. From Sicily, he traveled to Tuscany and was assigned to that order. But because of his illness was reassigned to the rural hermitage of San Paolo near ForlìRomagna. on 19 March 1222 while in Forli he was forced to give an impromptu sermon that created a deep impression on his audience. They were so moved not only by his rich voice and arresting manner, but also the theme and substance of his discourse, his deep knowledge of Holy Scriptures, and the eloquence with which he delivered his message.

Anthony was then sent by Brother Gratian, the local minister provincial, to the Franciscan province of Romagna, based in Bologna. There he drew the attention of Francis of Assissi who felt they had kindred spirits and that Anthony not only shared his vision but could also provide the teaching any young members of the order seeking ordination might need. In 1224, he entrusted the pursuit of studies for any of his friars to the care of Anthony.

Sometimes, Anthony took another post as a teacher at universities like the University of Montpellier and the University of Toulouse in southern France, but his preaching was considered his supreme gift. His method included allegory and symbolical explanation of Scripture. In 1228, he served as envoy from the general chapter to Pope Gregory IX. At the papal court, his preaching was hailed as a “jewel case of the Bible” and he was commissioned to produce his collection of sermons, Sermons for Feast Days (Sermones in Festivitates). Gregory IX described Anthony as the “Ark of the Testament” (Doctor Arca testament).

On 13 June 1231 after falling ill to ergotism, Anthony died on his way back to Padua at the Poor Clare monastery at Arcella (now part of Padua), at the age of 35. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on 30 May 1232, at Spoleto, Italy, less than one year after his death. He is especially invoked and venerated all over the world as the patron saint for the recovery of lost items and is credited with many miracles involving lost people, lost things, and even lost spiritual goods.

References:

  1. Dal-Gal, Niccolò (1907). “St. Anthony of Padua”The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  2.  Jump up to: Monti, Dominic V. (O.F.M.) (2008). Francis and His Brothers. A Popular History of the Franciscan FriarsCincinnatiOhioFranciscan MediaISBN 978-0-86716855-6Excerpt. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  3.  Silva 2011, p. 1.
  4.  Jump up to: “Anthony of Padua: The Italian Years – June 2007 Issue of St. Anthony Messenger Magazine Online”. 30 June 2007. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007.
  5.  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Anthony of Padua, Saint” Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  6. “Novena to Saint Anthony to Find a Lost Article – Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua – Novena to Find a Lost Item”. 14 November 2007. Archived from the original on 14 November 2007.

Accessed Wikipedia.org 18 March 2020.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1563 – The Edict of Amboise grants narrow permission for the exercise of the Protestant religion in France.

1587William Allen, exiled head of England’s Roman Catholics, exhorts King Philip II of Spain by letter to undertake an invasion of England and declares that the Catholics there are clamoring for him to punish Queen Elizabeth, “hated by God and man.”

1612Sophia Olelkovich Raziwell the last descendent of the Olelkovich-Slutsk dynasty died. Passionate for Orthodoxy, she refused to convert to Catholicism and obtained a law allowing landowners of the region (modern-day Belarus) to remain Orthodox. Because of her efforts, the region around Slutsk will become a bastion of Orthodoxy, and in 1983 she will be canonized by the Orthodox Church.

1711 – Death at Longleat, England, of Thomas Ken, notable in his generation as one of seven bishops who had been sent to the Tower of London for refusing to publish King James II’s Declaration of Indulgence. He will be remembered by succeeding generations as the author of the doxology “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow.”

1875 – American poet William Cullen Bryant writes his Christmas hymn “Look from Thy Sphere of Endless Day” for the fiftieth anniversary of the Church of the Messiah in Boston.

Accessed ChristianHistoryInstitute.org 18 March 2020.

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