San Antonio de Padua (St. Anthony of Padua)

Br. Arturo Olivas, OFS

Artist's Narrative:
Older, unremodeled churches most always count St. Anthony among their pantheon of statues. The saint of Padua is usually sculpted or portrayed holding the child Jesus—or a lily—or a book—or all three—in his arms. A bank of vigil lights will burn in front of the statue.

Anthony was born in 1195 (13 years after St. Francis) in Lisbon (now Portugal, then a part of Spain), and given the name of Fernando at Baptism. His parents, Martin and Mary Bulhom, apparently belonged to one of the prominent families of the city.

At the age of 15 he entered the religious order of St. Augustine. Monastery life was hardly peaceful for young Fernando, nor conducive to prayer and study, as his old friends came to visit frequently and engaged in vehement political discussions.

After two years he was sent to Coimbra. There he began nine years of intense study, learning the Augustinian theology which he would later combine with the Franciscan vision. Fernando was probably ordained a priest during this time.

His feast day is June 13.


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