Thursday, June 14, 2012


St Anthony of Padua with the child Jesus
by Antonio de Pereda
Image: Wikipedia

Yesterday there was a good development in my personal life.  I can't go into detail here yet but believe me, it's been a long time coming and the past couple of months have been particularly difficult.

"Ah, it's because it's Saint Anthony's Day", said a close friend here and as I was grateful and continue to need all the help I can get, I determined to find out more about St Anthony of Padua [ Fernando Martins de Bulhões, 15.8.1195 - 13.6.1231]:

Fernando was not from Padua at all but was born in Lisbon.  As a young man, he entered Augustine Canons but afterwards became a Franciscan, having met and been impressed by some Franciscan friars who were on their way to Morocco, where they were later martyred.  It was their simplicity that appealed to Anthony, as he became in his Franciscan order.

Anthony wanted to go and preach the Gospel in Morocco too but was unable to complete his journey because of illness. He therefore decided to visit Italy, the centre of his order but, in another turn of fate, his ship was driven towards Sicily in a storm and he landed at Messina.  I was delighted to discover this Sicilian connection!  Anthony travelled to Tuscany and then to San Paolo near Forli [Romagna], where he worked in a hospice and studied.  Then one day he was called upon to preach a sermon and he did this so eloquently that he was sent to preach all around Lombardy.  He even came to the attention of St Francis of Assisi himself, who gave Anthony teaching duties.  Anthony continued to preach but also served as an envoy to Pope Gregory IX and taught at several European universities.  He died on his way to Padua at the age of 36. He was canonized just eleven months after his death and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946.  

During my research I learned that Saint Anthony is called upon to find missing objects [which could be very handy]  and you can also enlist his help in finding a husband [wish I'd known before].  He is the protector of orphans, prisoners, the shipwrecked, pregnant women, infertile women, glaziers and new recruits of all kinds.

To bring this back to the personal, I wasn't infertile but life did not bless me with circumstances in which I might have had children.  Few women in this position talk about it and the fact that it is a loss - of hope and so much more - does not seem to be recognised by society.  Whether or not, had I been born in the UK 30 years later than I was, I would have skipped along to the sperm clinic is a question I cannot answer, nor is it the point here. I'm just going to  assume that St Anthony's compassion extends to those of us who did not conceive for other reasons and from today he joins my list of favourite saints.

Now, where did I put my keys?


rochambeau said...

Hello Patrizia!
Happy to hear things are going better in your life!
Guess what? I too know St Anthony, even have a little card with his portrait sitting in our studio and since I always find what is gone missing!! Thank you for teaching me more about his life.

Hope a very special child will come into your life for you to love and vice versa!


Whispering Walls said...

I'm so pleased for you (and Simi!)

James Higham said...

and you can also enlist his help in finding a husband

Do you think I should avail myself of that?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Constance. How lovely to learn that you know St Anthony too. Well, I do have a very special little dog....
Thanks, WW. I'll tell Simi! You never know, James...

CherryPie said...

I am glad things are going well for you :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Cherie. x


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