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St. Anthony of Padua - Watercolor Painting Dimensions - 14.5" X 17" (actual painting

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Even though designated as being of Padua, Italy, Anthony was actually born of a wealthy family in Lisbon, Spain. He was a cheerful & energetic child, who loved the outdoors, and also had a prodigious memory for his studies. Naturally pious, he chose to enter the Augustinian order at age 15. In the year 1220, his life changed when he saw the bodies of Franciscan martyrs laid out in the church of Santa Croce—he learned of their order and became inflamed with the desire for martyrdom. Some of the Franciscan brethren at the convent of Olivares took him into their order. Anthony was known for his magnificently loud, clear voice, his facility with words & oratory, a winning countenance and a extensive memory. With characteristic zeal he undertook to reform the morality of his time, to rid the monasteries of vice & corruption, and to dissolve heretical sects throughout Italy ~ he became known as the Hammer of Heretics. His great eloquence was well-known, & he could convert even the most hardened sinner to repentance; it was said that even the fishes would gather to listen to him.

Many miracles are attributed to him. A foolish man, hearing a sermon of Anthony’s on Honoring Parents, cut off his own foot with which he’d kicked his mother: Anthony prayed over the foot & reattached it. The murderers of an innocent young man were pinpointed when Anthony raised him from the dead~ the boy sat up & spoke the name of those who had killed him. An arrogant, wealthy atheist confronted Anthony because he wanted proof of Christ’s power: the saint put a pile of hay in front of the man’s donkey (which the man had starved for 3 days), but the donkey refused to eat and instead kneeled in front of Anthony, who was holding a Host. A pious woman’s husband publicly scandalized her by saying the child she bore was not his: Anthony prayed over the infant & temporarily gave him the power of speech ~ he promptly avowed to the man that indeed, the mother was innocent and proclaimed his true fatherhood.

Anthony is also known for his visitations from the Christ Child. A guest at a monastery at Padua peeked into his cell one night and saw Anthony holding the Christ Child on his shoulder, talking with him, and reading from the Bible. He is the patron saint to whom one appeals to help one find lost things, of public speakers, and of childless women.


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