“To thee, oh blessed Virgin, be praise and glory, because today we are filled with the goodness of thy house; that is, of thy womb.”
St. Anthony was born in Portugal. He is known as “of Padua” because of the Italian city of Padua where he died and where his relics can still be venerated today. Statues and devotion to him are found everywhere, which is why Leo XIII referred to him as “everyone’s Saint.” One biographer said of him, “He was powerful in deeds and in words. His body dwelled on this earth but his soul lived in Heaven.”
He was born in the year 1195. The name given to him at baptism was Fernando, but when he joined the Order of Friars Minor, he changed his name to that of Anthony because of his devotion to the great patriarch of monks and the official patron of the chapel in which he received the Franciscan habit.
From the time of his youth, he had many difficulties. He was harshly assaulted by temptations against purity, but he did not allow himself to be defeated and with the help of God, dominated his passions. He was strengthened by visiting the Most Blessed Sacrament. He renewed the consecration he had made as a child to the Most Blessed Virgin, to whom he had entrusted his purity.
In 1220, while he studied in Coimbra with the regular canons of St. Augustine, the King, Don Pedro of Portugal, brought relics of the Franciscan Friar Saints who shortly beforehand had obtained the glorious crown of martyrdom in Morocco. Upon seeing the relics, a deep desire was born in his heart to give his life for Christ. Shortly afterwards, some Franciscan Friars arrived to where he was and helped him to open his heart. He was admitted to the Order at the beginning of 1221 and almost immediately afterwards was given permission to journey to Morocco. His goal? To preach the Gospel to the Muslims. On his way, he fell gravely ill and was forced to return to Europe. Due to strong winds, the ship on which he sailed had to take a different route and stopped in Messina, the capital of Sicily. From there, he travelled to Assisi. St. Anthony, full of extraordinary intellectual and spiritual gifts, gave himself over to prayer and the service of the other Friars. Having discovered a great gift for preaching, he fully dedicated himself to it and eventually became very famous.
People came from all over to listen to him and touch him. He arrived at Padua. News spread of the miracles he performed and it was said of him that he radiated holiness. He said, “The great danger of the Christian is to preach and not practice, believe but not live according to what he believes.” His lived out what he preached. Despite his poor health, he completely dedicated himself to his Brothers and tirelessly worked for souls. In the spring of 1231, after having preached a series of sermons, St Anthony’s health declined and he took to rest. Aware of his imminent end, he asked to be taken to Padua. He never reached the city. On June 13, 1231, in the private room of the Poor Clares’ chaplain at Arcella, he received the last sacraments. He sang a hymn to the Blessed Virgin and smiling, said, “I see Our Lord coming,” and died.
He was canonized before a year had passed since his death and seven centuries later, Pope Pius XII declared St. Anthony a “Doctor of the Church.”
St. John Eudes
"The heavens are the work of your thy hands" but the Heart of the Mother of God is the unequaled masterpiece of His omnipotence, His unfathomable wisdom and His infinite goodness."
St. John Eudes was born in the year 1601 in Ri, close to Argentan (France). His parents, Isaac Eudes and Martha Corbin, went on a pilgrimage to a shrine of Our Lady asking for the grace to have a child, because they had already been married for two years. Nine months later, John was born and four more children after him. Since childhood he showed an inclination towards religious matters. When he was 14, he entered the Jesuit school at Caen. Although his parents would have preferred that he marry and continue working on the family farm, he took a vow of chastity. In the year 1621, he received minor orders. He began to study theology in Caen. He was soon admitted in the Congregation of the Oratory by the Founder, Fr. Berulle, who allowed John to preach seeing his exemplary conduct. He was ordained a priest on December 20, 1625. He was a tireless missionary. He cared for the sick, risking his own life, and gave himself completely over to the conversion of souls. In prayer, the Lord asked more of him. He left the congregation and formed an association of diocesan priests in order to create seminaries for the formation of zealous priests. The association took on the name: "Congregation of Jesus and Mary." He followed the path of missions, opening new communities, writing books, prayers, and letters full of spiritual doctrine. He helped people to love the Hearts of Christ and the Virgin Mary. After a spiritually fruitful life, he died on August 19, 1680. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 31, 1925..