St Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things

Decrease font size
Increase font size
Print this page
Email to friend
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Home > Media > News > St Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things
St Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things

Feast Day: June 13

Venerated as the patron saint of lost things, Saint Anthony of Padua was a Franciscan friar of Portuguese descent whose great gift of preaching was discovered by accident.

Born into a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal on August 15, 1195, St Anthony was baptised as ‘Fernando’. 

To the dismay of his parents who wanted him to become a soldier, he entered the religious order of St Augustine at age 15. 

Several years after joining the order, he requested to be transferred to a monastery in Coimbra, where, as guest master, he met five friars from a recently established order formed by St Francis of Assisi.    

Later hearing of the martyrdom of the five friars in Morocco, he was so moved that he requested to become a Franciscan where he took the name Anthony in honour of St Anthony of Egypt, a fourth-century monk.

Believing he was called to continue the mission of the five martyred friars, St Anthony was given permission to sail to Morocco in December 1220.

He fell ill with malaria in Africa and was forced to return to Portugal, however his ship was severely blown off course and he eventually landed in Italy. 

Deciding to make Italy his new home, St Anthony’s previously hidden preaching skills were discovered at an ordination ceremony when he was asked to deliver a sermon on short notice.

Delivering such a moving homily, news soon reached St Francis of his great oratory skills and he was quickly assigned to public preaching duties.  

St Anthony then travelled extensively throughout northern Italy and southern France, spreading the truth of the Gospel with such a passion that he attracted crowds so large he was often forced to preach in open piazzas.

St Anthony’s preaching particularly inspired ‘lost souls’ to come back to the practice of the Catholic faith. His association with finding lost articles is linked to the return of an important book stolen by a novice who was leaving the order. St Anthony prayed that the novice would have a change of heart, and he did – returning the book, and re-joining the Franciscan order.

During his lifetime, St Anthony gained a reputation as a worker of miracles.

His biography records a mule bowing down to him whilst he held the Eucharist aloft.

In another famous miracle attributed to him, a school of fish began jumping out of the ocean when he started preaching. 

St Anthony was only 35 when he died of ergotism in 1231. 

Due to the reports of the many miracles occurring at his tomb, Pope Gregory IX declared St Anthony a saint less than one year after his death.

Upon the exhumation of his body in 1263, St Anthony’s jaw and tongue were found perfectly intact, which today remain on display for veneration in the basilica that bears his name in Padua.

He was declared a doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.