Saints of the Day – Francis Antony of Lucera

Saint Francesco Antonio FasaniArticle

(also known as Antony Fasani)

Born at Lucera, Apulia, Italy, on August 6, 1681; died November 29, 1742; beatified by Pope Pius XII on April 15, 1951; canonized by John Paul II April 13, 1986.

Donato Anthony John Nicholas Fasani was born into a family of farm laborers. Although he was baptized with this august name, he was known simply as Giovanniello (Johnny). His mother remarried after his father died while Giovanniello was still very young. It was Giovanniello’s stepfather who sent him to the Friars Conventual for his education. At age 15, the little saint was sent to Monte Gargano to begin his novitiate. Upon making his profession as a Franciscan on August 23, 1696, he took the name Francis Antony.

In 1703, Francis Antony was sent to Assisi, where he was ordained to the priesthood on September 11, 1705. He completed his master’s degree in theology at the College of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. From that time he was called “Father Master” in his hometown, where he taught theology from 1707. At the convent of Lucera, he also served as guardian, novice master, and minister provincial of the Province of Sant’Angelo.

Although his scholarship was great, he was better known for his preaching in both the city and countryside. He spoke in a way that all who heard him could understand and directed his catechetical efforts to the poor. He produced several volumes of sermons, which include some in Latin. Francis Antony was devoted to the downtrodden: the poor, the suffering, and the imprisoned. He often accompanied those condemned to death to their execution.

Francis Antony promoted devotion to the Immaculate Conception, which was his own special love at a time when the dogma had not yet been defined. He had brought from Naples a statue of the Immaculate Conception that he put in the church of Saint Francis, and he wrote hymns for the people to sing before it. This statue is still an object of veneration in Lucera. He also established a novena to Our Lady under this appellation. On November 29, the first day of this novena, Francis Antony died, a man revered and loved as another Saint Francis of Assisi (Attwater 2, Walsh).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 August 2020. Web. 2 December 2020. <>