Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) was Portuguese, a Catholic, a Franciscan, a great preacher, and a Doctor of the Church.
Fernando Martins de Bulhões was born in Lisbon in 1195. At age 15 or 16, he studied with a group of pious parish priests.
After his priestly ordination, though, he met some members of the new Franciscan order. He joined them and took the name of Anthony. They sent him abroad as a foreign missionary.
But bad health forced him to give up his missionary pursuits. He settled in Italy and became a hermit.
He toiled for years in the obscurity of the kitchen. But then he was ordered to preach a sermon for a public event. People were awe-struck. His life in the kitchen was over.
Anthony was sent to preach. Everywhere. He attracted thousands. He was esteemed as a powerful preacher with expert knowledge of the Scriptures.
Anthony’s preaching was so popular that he had to preach in the city squares and marketplaces.
He died in 1231 at age 36. He was canonized a saint just a year later. In 1946, he was named a Doctor of the Church.
The gospel of Jesus Christ burned brightly in Anthony of Padua. He was willing to let that light shine before all.
The Memorial of Anthony of Padua is observed each year on June 13.
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