The Franciscan Friars invite you to join them Saturday, November 30th, in welcoming Saint Anthony of Padua. Saint Anthony will be visiting you in the form of two holy, first‐class and precious relics from his Basilica in Padua, Italy. The relics will be accompanied by Friar Bortolino Maistrello, an OFM Conventual Franciscan. Before his visit, here are some interesting facts about St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis of Assisi.
Did Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Francis of Assisi know each other? YES. Saint Francis gave permission to Saint Anthony to become the first Teacher of Sacred Theology in the Franciscan Order. In the Basilica’s museum in Padua, you can see this document in which Saint Francis calls Saint Anthony “My Bishop”. Saint Anthony was not a Bishop but it suggests what Francis thought of Anthony.
“I Brother Francis send wishes of health to Brother Anthony, my bishop. It pleases me that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, as long as in the words of the Rule you “do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion” with study of this kind.”St. Francis of Assisi
At first glance, St. Anthony has occasionally been mistaken for St. Francis of Assisi because he is wearing a Franciscan Habit. But look a little closer and see that he is carrying the Child Jesus, the Holy Scriptures, the bread for the poor, and the lily for peace. He has a youthful appearance, and sometimes a flame in his hand. All these symbols are visual cues that tell us about his exemplary life on earth.
Why is he carrying the Christ Child? Prior to his death, the Portuguese-born saint had the privilege of having the Christ Child appear in his arms. It was witnessed and recorded in Arcella, a hamlet of Padua, Italy, in a Convent of Poor Clares where the Saint died on June 13, 1231.
Saint Anthony was elevated to sainthood in the shortest time in the history of the church…in only 11 months. Sometimes the process takes years and even centuries. His nickname, Santo Subito = Immediate Sainthood, comes from the 13th century after the Saint’s death in 1231.