St. Anthony was born on August 15, 1195. His baptismal name was Fernando. His father, Martin de Boullin was the Governor of Lisbon, Portugal. His mother, Theresa was a descendant of the kings of Austria. Fernando was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin by his mother at his Baptism. As a growing boy Fernando suffered many kinds of temptations. But he was firm in fighting temptation. Jesus in Holy Communion gave him strength to overcome temptation.

Fernando made great efforts to fulfill the dreams that his mother and teachers had for him. In 1210, at the age of fifteen, Fernando entered the Augustinian house of studies, St. Vincent's, near Lisbon. He wanted to renounce all claims to his father's title and estates to become a priest. Thus, he joined the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, the great centre of learning, and studied the Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Church. Inspired by the sacrifice of the first Franciscan Martyrs, Fernando wanted to become a martyr. In 1220 at the Monastery of Coimbra dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot, Fernando received the Franciscan habit and took the name Anthony.

Anthony dedicated the rest of his life to preaching the Word of God and serving the needs of people. He travelled to various places like Morocco, Portugal, Sicily, Assisi, Bologna, Italy and France. At Assisi, Anthony met St. Francis. Anthony became a world renowned speaker. Shops and law courts were closed on the day he preached. People came from all over the world to hear him. His preaching was so great and so powerful that he was called upon to settle arguments and make peace between enemies. Judges at Padua asked him to rewrite their laws. Anthony was filled with the wisdom of God and was guided by the spirit of Francis of Assisi.

His words were strengthened by his upright and holy life. Anthony was a great teacher of theology. He himself was a devout student of St. Augustine, St. Francis and the Holy Scripture. He was a great miracle worker. Anthony had a great love for poor and fed them with bread. He cared for the needs of soul and body and cured the sick.

Anthony had deep love for the Infant Jesus. It was Infant Jesus who appeared to him in a vision and helped him to remain pure and reach holiness. Anthony also had tender love and devotion to Mother Mary. He was born on the Feast of Mary's Assumption. He was baptized at St. Mary's Church, Lisbon and was buried at St. Mary's Church at Pauda. He also spoke of the great virtues of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God. On June 13, 1231, Anthony became very ill and died at Arcella, calling out - "I see my Lord." He was only 36 years old when he died.

On May 30, 1232, Anthony was proclaimed a Saint by Pope Gregory IX and June 13 was dedicated as his Feast Day. His mortal remains were kept at the Basilica of St. Anthony at Padua in 1263.

Today, St. Anthony has become a "World Saint" and is called "Wonder-Worker". Thousands of pilgrims all over the world journey to pray at his tomb in Padua, Italy, for St. Anthony is a friend and patron of the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the sorrowful and the sick.

Our Patron Saint