Friend of the Poor

Image of St. Anthony in San Antonio, Dolores

St. Anthony of Padua is a much beloved saint in all the world, especially here in Latin America. In the parish of Dulce Nombre where I help, nine of the 45 churches have him as their patron.

Anthony was a Franciscan priest and preacher, doctor of the church, and “Friend of the Poor,” who died on June 13, 1231.

He started his religious life as an Augustinian canon in Portugal but, seeing the witness of Franciscans martyred in Morocco, he joined the Franciscans. Prevented from going to Morocco, he ended up in Italy. For some time he served as a simple friar in a poor friary. One day, he was asked to preach at an ordination. Leaving the kitchen where he was washing dishes, he delivered an outstanding sermon and proceeded to preach throughout Italy.

Known as the saint who helps you find lost items, he was also the saint who loved and served the poor (and castigated the rich), as he followed the poor Christ as a Franciscan.

As he once preached:

“For you [Lord], we have left everything and have become poor. But since you are rich, we have followed you that you might enrich us… We have followed you as the creature follows the Creator, like sons of the Father, as children follow their mother, as the starving their bread, as the sick their doctor, as the weary their bed, as exiles their homeland…”

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