Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Anthony of Egypt (251–356)

Saint Anthony of Egypt (251–356)

Patron saint of basketmakers, butchers, and pigs

Feast day: January 17

After his parents passed away, Saint Anthony made sure that his younger sister finished her education and was well looked after, then sold all of his possessions and gave the money to the poor. He then set out into the desert alone to live the removed, prayerful life of a hermit.

Anthony soon attracted attention for his holy ways, and many people flocked to him seeking healing and counsel. Anthony eventually had so many followers that he founded two monasteries. He briefly left the quiet work and prayer of the monastery to travel to Egypt and fight Arianism. Anthony became so well known for his holiness and good counsel that Emperor Constantine the Great wrote to him asking for his prayers.

Saint Anthony is revered as the first "desert father" and as Father of the Monastic Life. Letters dictated by him in his native language, Coptic, can be found at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

(Image CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)