The Feast of St. Anthony is observed every year on June 13 to honor the life and work of St. Anthony of Padua, who accomplished many things during his short time in this world as a priest. He was revered by his contemporaries and noted for his powerful preaching, vast knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and the sick. They made him one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history. His fame spread through Portuguese evangelization and he became the patron saint of Lisbon, Padua, and many other places in Portugal. St. Anthony is invoked and respected around the world as the patron saint for the recovery of lost items. He is credited with several miracles involving lost people, things, and even spiritual goods.
History of Feast of St. Anthony
St. Anthony of Padua was born Fernando Martins de Bulhões to a wealthy and prominent family in Lisbon, Portugal on August 15, 1195. His father, Martin de Bouillon, was a descendant of Godfrey de Bouillon, commander of the First Crusade, while his mother, Theresa Tavejra, was a descendant of the fourth king of Asturia, Froila I.
Anthony was educated at the Cathedral School of Saint Mary near his house, where his teachers suggested that he become a knight at the king’s court. However, his father believed Anthony was better suited to intellectual pursuits and wanted him to help manage the family’s estate and become a nobleman. To his father’s dismay, Anthony joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine when he was 15 and entered St. Vincent’s convent of Lisbon in 1210. Anthony soon asked to be transferred to the Holy Cross Monastery in Coimbra where he spent eight years studying theology and was later ordained a priest. During this period, he befriended many friars following Francis of Assisi, who built an order of friars and traveled extensively, preaching to non-believers.
In 1220, he joined the Franciscan order inspired by five Fransicians who were martyred in Morocco. He, too, hoped to preach to Muslims and be martyred. On his way to Morocco, he became seriously ill and was forced to return home, but his ship back to Portugal was blown off course and finally landed in Sicily. Because of his deteriorating health, he was not allowed to pursue missionary work. Instead, he taught theology in Bologna, Italy; and at Montpellier, Toulouse, and Puy-en-Velay in southern France. He won great admiration as a preacher and was noted for his simple yet profound teaching of the Catholic faith. He died on his way to Padua, Italy on June 13 in 1231.
Feast of St. Anthony timeline
St. Anthony of Padua is born Fernando Martins de Bulhões to a wealthy and socially prominent family in Lisbon, Portugal.
Anthony joins the Franciscan order, hoping to preach to Muslims and be martyred.
Anthony becomes sick with ergotism and dies on June 13 on the way to Padua, where he is now buried.
Anthony is canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232, at Spotelo, Italy for his spiritual teachings and devotion to the Church.
Feast of St. Anthony FAQs
What do you eat on St. Anthony’s day?
Spaniards are fond of beans and prepare them in many ways. Bean and Escarole Soup with or without pasta is often cooked in Spanish families and is offered to the poor on St. Anthony’s Day after Mass.
Where is the town of Braham located?
St. Anthony had a prized and expensive book of psalms that went missing and he thought was probably stolen. He prayed that the book would be found. A novice who had taken the book suddenly returned it and even returned to the order. The stolen book is said to be preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna, Italy.
Why is St. Anthony often painted with a baby?
The baby in the paintings depicts Baby Jesus and is reminiscent of the vision that Anthony had in Camposampiero. It expresses his attachment to the humanity of Christ and his closeness to God.
How to Observe Feast of St. Anthony
Go to church
Visit the church on this holy day to feel closer to God and to ponder upon St. Anthony’s spiritual teachings. Dedicate the day to learning more about his preaching and incorporate it into your life for a more fulfilling life.
Help the needy
Follow St. Anthony’s teachings of devoting yourself to the sick and the poor by donating money, helping out at soup kitchens, and spending time with those less fortunate than you. Any amount of time devoted will be appreciated.
Celebrate at home
Have a wholesome family dinner with your close family members by cooking up a delicious homecooked meal. Read more about his teachings in the many books written about him and share these fascinating stories with your children.
5 Remarkable Facts About St. Anthony
He preached to the fish
St. Anthony was once seen preaching to fish in Rimini to the surprise of non-believers, but soon a large crowd of fish had gathered to listen to him.
He is known as a marriage saint in Portugal, Spain, and Brazil because legends exist of him reconciling couples.
Feast of all Feasts
Boston’s North End holds a feast every year on the weekend of the last Sunday in August in honor of St. Anthony called the "Feast of All Feasts."
Celebrated follower of Francis of Assisi
St. Anthony’s fame spread with Portuguese evangelization and he is known as the most celebrated follower of Francis of Assisi.
According to a story, St. Anthony’s food was poisoned by non-believers who challenged him to eat the food anyway —-which he did after blessing the food and coming out unharmed.
Why Feast of St. Anthony is Important
St. Anthony helped the poor and the sick
St. Anthony quickly became a champion of the poor in Padua. Among other acts, he influenced the local government to pass legislation that protected the poor from going to prison if they could not repay their debts.
He was a great orator
His presentations were so forceful, simple, and eloquent that he was asked to preach all over Italy and the regions of France. His theological expertise and inspirational oration also impressed the leader of the order, St. Francis, who enlisted Anthony to teach theology to other Franciscans. This was a unique honor, as he would have a huge impact on the order’s future and the Church.
He is celebrated all over the world
From the Americas to Asia to Africa, St. Anthony is revered all over the world. Outside of Europe, there are churches dedicated to him in Texas, Tamil Nadu and Goa in India, and the Philippines, among other places. He also inspired many artists who painted him frequently.
Feast of St. Anthony dates