Saints and Their Symbols – Saint Antony of Padua

a verson of the 2014 computer based forensic reconstruction of the face of Saint Anthony of Padua based on a digital version of his skull; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

A.D. 1231, June 13, was born in Portugal, and having entered the Franciscan Order, sailed for Morocco, to preach. There he fell so seriously ill that he was obliged to return, “but contrary winds drove his ship to the shores of Italy. Just then Saint Francis was holding the first Genere> Chapter of his Order, where Saint Antony’s education and learning made him a valuable assistant, and he also preached and taught in many of the universities. He travelled about Italy, doing much good and preaching to the people. On one occasion, when the inhabitants of Rimini refused to hear him, he turned to the sea and spoke to the fishes, who rose to the surface in great numbers to listen to him. Many miracles are recorded of this saint, of which we can only mention a few of the most important. A noble lady, stabbed by her husband in a fit of jealousy, was restored by the prayers of Antony, and the husband reformed from that hour. A child scalded to* death and a young girl drowned were both restored by the same means. A Portuguese youth loved a lady whose family was at feud with his own. Her brother slew him, and cast the blame on Antony’s father. The saint, although he was then in Padua, suddenly appeared as his father was being led to execution, and caused the dead body of the youth to speak and name the true authors of the deed. Saint Antony, when? preaching the funeral sermon of a miser, on the text ” Where the treasure is,” etc., said, “His heart is in his treasure-chest, and there you will find it.” His friends immediately searched the chest, and there found the heart, which at the same time proved to be absent from the miser’s body. A youth once confessed to Saint Antony, that in a moment of rage he had kicked his own mother. The saint, filled with indignation, declared that the offending foot deserved to be cut off. The youth in his remorse did cut it off, but when Saint Antony heard of it he healed him by his prayers. A sceptical soldier once declared he would as soon believe in these miracles as that a glass cup he held would not be broken, dashing it from a balcony to the ground as he spoke. The marble on which it fell was split, but the cup remained whole, and this wonder finally converted the soldier. Again: a heretic named Bovadilla entertained doubts on the subject of the Blessed Sacrament, and, unconvinced by Saint Antony’s arguments, still required a miracle. Then the saint, carrying the Host, met Bovadilla’s mule, and commanded it to fall on its knees, which it did at once, and notwithstanding every inducement to make it rise, remained in that position till the Host had passed. Saint Antony died in his thirty-sixth year, after a life of devotion and self-denial, in which he was often supported by visions of the Infant Christ. After his death he appeared to comfort the Paduans under the cruelties of Eccellino, and to foretell the death of the tyrant. Saint Antony was canonized in 1232, and the great Church of Saint Antonio was begun at Padua in hishonour immediately afterwards. Emblems – Christ-child in his arms. Christ-child on a book. Fire in his hand. Fire on his breast. Franciscan habit. Kneeling mule. Lily.

MLA Citation

  • E A Greene. “Saint Antony of Padua”. Saints and Their Symbols, 1909. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 April 2017. Web. 26 February 2021. <>