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Lives of the Saints:

How They Changed the World

Saint Anthony of Padua (1195–1231)

Saint Anthony of Padua (1195–1231)

Patron saint of lost items and missing people

Feast day: June 13

“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come 'round. There's something lost that must be found.” You might hear this rhyme when someone has lost something, like car keys. That’s because Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of searchers for lost articles. Saint Anthony is revered as one of the Church’s greatest preachers, who brought many lost people back into the faith. He had a beautiful voice and a captivating way of speaking. His homilies were well written and made people think. He was known as the “hammer of the heretics,” because his sermons helped people bring their thoughts and actions into line with Church teachings. His original reason for becoming a priest was to become a martyr. Martyrs were people who were killed because they believed in Christ. Anthony was moved by the recent martyrdom of five Franciscans. Inspired by their order’s public way of living like Christ, he left his comfortable life in Portugal to join the Franciscans in Africa in hopes of dying for the faith. His poor health, however, changed his plans. Instead, he spent his short life with the Franciscans in Italy to become one of the greatest spiritual writers of the Church, venerated for his great teachings. He was also known for miracles. According to legend, a woman whose child was drowned begged Anthony to bring her little boy back to life. She promised she would give the poor an amount of corn equal to the child’s weight. When her child was brought back to life, the mother did as she had promised. In the spirit of this miracle, some parishes bless and distribute small loaves of bread on June 13, Saint Anthony’s feast day. “Saint Anthony’s Bread” is also the name of a Franciscan charity dedicated to helping those who are poor. Less than a year after Saint Anthony’s death, Pope Gregory IX canonized him. (Adapted from The Catholic Connections Handbook for Middle Schoolers [Saint Mary’s Press]) (Image © Vicki Shuck/Saint Mary's Press)