Monday, June 13, 2011

St Anthony of Padua

St Anthony's, Wythenshawe
We were married in 1988 in St Anthony's Church, Wythenshawe, Manchester. The church is modelled on St Anthony's Basilica in Padua, which we eventually saw when travelling from Venice to Rome in 2007.

St. Anthony of Padua is a Doctor of the Church and likely the most well known Franciscan saint, after St. Francis of Assisi.

Born to a noble family in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195, he rejected his family’s wealth and became a Dominican. Moved by the Francisican martyrs of that time, killed for preaching the Gospel, he left his order, joined the Friars Minor and left Portugal to evangelize.

He was such a gifted speaker that he attracted large crowds. Wherever he went, throughout Italy and France, he preached the Gospel. He spoke in multiple tongues and is said to have performed miracles.
St Anthony's Basilica, Padua
He died at the young age of 36 and was canonized in record time — 11 months later on May 30, 1232. When his body was exhumed, his tongue and mandible were found incorrupt. They are still on display at the shrine of St. Anthony, located in Padua, Italy.

Franciscans have played quite a part in my life over the years, being educated up to the age of eleven at St Francis of Assisi school in West Gorton which is in the shadow of the Church of St Francis, known locally as the Monastery.

Last year I went on retreat to the Franciscan Friary at Pantasaph in North Wales, which is now the UK base for Marino Restrepo's Pilgrims of Love as well as home to the national shrine to St Padre Pio .

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