The Church celebrates the feast of St. Anthony of Padua on June 13. He is best known as the patron saint of lost articles. Many people pray to St. Anthony for help in finding something that has been lost. What I find most inspirational about St. Anthony is the openness he had to change in his life. He showed the flexibility we all need to adjust to the present situation and to God’s Will.
St. Anthony was born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, but did most of his ministry in northern Italy and southern France. As a young man he joined the Augustinians, but eventually felt called to become a Franciscan so he could go to Morocco to preach to the Muslims and hopefully become a martyr. On board the ship to Morocco he became seriously sick and needed to return to Portugal. However, a bad storm blew his ship eastwardly across the Mediterranean and it arrived in Sicily. After getting back to good health, Anthony moved to a little hermitage in northern Italy to a life of seclusion and contemplation. However, at a friar ordination at which they forgot to designate a preacher, St. Anthony was asked by his superiors to give the sermon. All present were spellbound by his preaching, and he was soon assigned to ministry as a traveling preacher, especially in areas where heresy was rampant. Anthony effectively won many souls back to Christ. During this time, he was also asked by St. Francis to become the first teacher of theology to the new young friars.
As Fr. Leonard Foley, O.F.M. wrote in his book, Saint of the Day, “Anthony should be the patron of those who find their lives completely uprooted and set in a new and unexpected direction.” May we too learn to be open to God’s Will.
May the Lord, through the intercession of St Anthony look upon your intentions kindly and give you peace.
Fr. John Bok, OFM
Co-director, Friar Works/Franciscan Ministry & Mission