Monday, June 13, 2016

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony Statue on our front porch
 Anthony of Padua is one of my favorite saints. He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, 1195, and died in Arcella, a suburb of Padua, Italy, 1231. He was canonized the following year by Pope Gregory IX. You can read more about him here,

My love of St. Anthony developed when I was in the 8th grade. I was 13 years old and had just received a new pair of glasses. I was very nearsighted and had worn glasses since I was in fourth grade. The glasses brought everything at a distance into focus for me. I needed to wear them all the time. Like many 13 year old girls, though, I thought I looked better without glasses and sometimes went without them.

A favorite St. Anthony picture 
Finances were very tight in our home in those days. New glasses were necessary but an extra burden on the family budget. I was aware of that so when I reached into my coat pocket to retrieve my glasses one day, I panicked when I was not able to locate them. I often dropped them into my right-hand pocket when I wanted to go without them. This time they were gone. I searched frantically. What was I going to do? I didn't feel I could tell my parents. They had enough worries. What had I done? Foolish me. A few days went by and no luck. The glasses did not turn up. I was getting desperate, not to mention I could not see the board at school.

Suddenly I had the inspiration to pray to St. Anthony. We had just learned about the Nine First Fridays at school, so I promised St. Anthony if he found my glasses for me I would pray the Nine First Friday devotion. Well I am sure  you can guess the outcome. I did find my glasses. Shortly after I began praying to St. Anthony, I reached down into the right-hand pocket of my coat and there they were! Right there where they always were waiting for me to pick them up and put them on. I was so relieved and I learned a good lesson. I stopped taking them off for vanity's sake.
St. Anthony by El Greco

Did I ever make the Nine First Fridays? Yes. But it took me about ten years of starts and stops before I finally finished them all the way through. Years later I took our four children through the Nine First Fridays. If you are not familiar with them, below is a site at Catholic Culture where you can read about the devotion.

Lastly, a feast day is a cause for celebration. We honor St. Anthony for his many virtues and most of all for his great love of God and sublime charity to his fellow man. The cannolis pictured below are one of the many delicious desserts Italians enjoy on the feast of St. Anthony. A recipe from the Food Network is linked. You might like to try them or eat one of your favorite desserts to celebrate this saint, who has helped us all out in great and small matters.



Sicilian Cannolis

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