The Miracles and Patronage of St. Anthony
Vision of St. Anthony - by Coello
His Vision of the Baby Jesus is an event which, more than any other, characterizes the contemplative spirituality of St Anthony.
The Book of Miracles says: Blessed Anthony found himself in a city to preach and was put up by a local resident. He gave him a room set apart, so that he could study and contemplate undisturbed. While he was devotedly observing the room on which St Anthony has immersed himself in prayer, peeping through the window, he saw a beautiful baby appear in blessed Anthony's arms. The baby was Lord Jesus
Catholics know St. Anthony best as the patron saint of lost things. One story goes that St. Anthony had a psalter, filled with his own notes, that a novice, leaving the monastery, took. St. Anthony prayed for its return and the novice came back, gave him his psalter, and rejoined the order.
Barren women claim St. Anthony for their patron saint as well, most probably because of his association with the Child Jesus. From the 17th century, statues of St. Anthony holding the Child Jesus have been popular. It is believed that one night, during Saint Anthony's lifetime, the Divine Child visited him, kissed him and told him He loved him. The story is so well loved that, aside from Mary, St. Anthony is the saint most often depicted with the Child Jesus. He is also often shown carrying a lily, a symbol of purity, innocence and integrity, most likely assigned because he was once entrusted with the Child Jesus.
In keeping with his beloved Franciscan tradition, St. Anthony had a special love for poor and oppressed people. Knowing this, a shopkeeper named Louise Booffier of Toulon, France, who had lost her key, prayed to St. Anthony that she would give bread to the poor in his honor, if a locksmith could open her bolted shop door without force. The miracle happened, and she founded the charity of St. Anthony Bread in gratitude. On his feast day, June 13, some churches still bless loaves of bread to be given to the poor, although the term "St. Anthony Bread" is used to denote any offering made in thanksgiving for a favor from St. Anthony.
St. Anthony is also the patron saint of amputees. In Padua, a young man confessed to St. Anthony that he had kicked his mother. Later, in remorse at St. Anthony's remonstrance, he cut off his own foot. St. Anthony, hearing of this drastic action, came and reattached the amputated limb.
St. Anthony is, in addition, the Catholic patron saint against shipwrecks,
starvation, American Indians, boatmen, elderly people, expectant mothers, fishermen, harvests, horses, mail, mariners, pregnant women, sailors, swineherds, travel hostesses, travelers and watermen.
|His most famous miracle may be the sermon to the fishes. We have been told that when a crowd refused to heed him, St. Anthony turned his back on them and preached from the shore to the fish in a lake. The fish responded by lifting up their heads from the water to hear him better.|