St. Anthony of Padua
Doctor of the Church
Feast of St Anthony - 13th of June
St. Anthony was born to a prominent Portuguese family in 1195 and given the name Ferdinand at his baptism. He was educated at the Cathedral School of Lisbon, and at the age of fifteen, having completed his studies there, he entered an Augustinian convent and spent the next ten years in prayer and study of Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers. In 1220, the deaths of the first Franciscan martyrs in Morocco kindled in him the desire to become a missionary, to preach the faith to the Muslims, and to suffer for Christ’s sake; so he joined the Franciscans, taking the name Anthony.
Poor health prevented Anthony from undertaking missionary work in Morocco, and he ended up in Italy, where his ministry as a preacher and worker of miracles was completed. His deep understanding of the faith, cultivated in his many years of study, and his zeal made him an outstanding orator. This talent for preaching, coupled with the gift of miracles, Anthony used for the glory of God, which brought about the conversion of many from the vices and heresies of the time.
Anthony died on 13 June, 1231 after receiving the Sacraments and seeing a vision of our Lord. Pope Gregory IX canonized him on the feast of Pentecost the following year. When his body was exhumed years later, his tongue, which had so faithfully and beautifully preached the gospel, was found to be uncorrupted.
Life of St Anthony
Portrayed in the Stained Glass Windows of our Church
THE CONCEPT: (The artist's description of the design)
This is the first window representing St Anthony's life. He was born into a wealthy family and had all the worldly goods he required. He gave these up at the age of 15 and decided to enter the Canons Regular of St. Augustine and then devoted the next eight years to the study of theology and scripture. This is depicted in this window by having the smaller portions of the window brightly colored (to represent wealth) and have him entering through the doorway, where the other side is clear (and white) glass representing God and religion. Baptism/Confirmation is represented in this window using the sybols water, a door and the flames. Baptism was the most appropriate sacraments to put in the first window because it "is the door of the spiritual life for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church"; Confirmation is represented by the flames. The seven flames represent the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that are bestowed upon the Church and all its members. The diagonal rays of clear texture are representative of God. They are in all the windows to represent that God was always with St Anthony and continues to always be with us.
"This window faces north and warm colours are used to illustrate this design. Red signifies the symbol of charity and martyrdom for faith, and signifies the blood of Christ. Violet represents love, truth, passion and suffering. This window depicts the chapter of St. Anthony's life when he witnessed some Franciscan martyrs return to Italy from Morocco. ""The relics of St. Bernard and companions, the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order, seized St. Anthony with an intense desire to suffer martyrdom in a like manner. So moved by their heroic example he repeatedly begged and petitioned his superiors to be given leave to join the Franciscan Order . . . his earnest wish to be sent to the missions in Africa was fulfilled."" He begged to be allowed to go to Morocco as a missionary (and martyr) and was granted his request. Unfortunately, he became ill and was unable to complete his task and returned to Italy. The sacrament depicted by this window is Anointing of the Sick and is represented by the sybol of vials of oil. The oil is assoiciated with health, healing, strength and beauty. The palm tree is also symbolic representing praise, triumph and thanksgiving. "
"This window symbolizes St. Anthony's return to Italy. The colours are cool Mediterranean blues, with columns and terrazzo flooring. On his return to Rome, the Pope asks St. Anthony to preach to the people to conclude Holy Week. The Pope asked him to speak on the real meaning of the great Gospel story that the Church was celebrating. He had a powerful effect on his audience but his heart remained humble and he pleads with Pope Gregory to allow him to retire to the silence of the hills surrounding Rome. The Eucharist is symbolized with Wheat, bread, grapes and a chalice. In our Eucharist, we recall, celebrate, and re-experience the Pascal Mystery of Jesus' death and resurrection. When we celebrate the Eucharist we contemplate Jesus' presence and we behold him with the eyes of faith. ""Jesus is present in the Eucharist as the perfect sacrifice, the medicine of immortality, and the antidote for death."
"This window illustrates what occurred when St. Anthony discovered his true calling. Although he was reminded by St. Francis ""...that the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the brethren"", St. Anthony was given the mission to preach throughout Italy and later commissioned also to teach theology to the brethren. The descending dove (representing the Holy Spirit) is the symbol used to represent the sacrament of Holy Orders. The cross has a prominent place in the window to emulate someone standing and preaching to the masses. The book represents both the Bible and learning/teaching. The four hands of yellow white, black, and red symbolize the reconciled world and the harmony of mankind. St Anthony ""wrought veritable miracles of conversion. Deadly enemies were reconciled. Thieves and usurers made restitution. Calumniators and detractors recanted and apologized."" He was given the epitaph ""the ark of the covenant"". If you look closely at the water you will see the images of the Christian fish which represents a miracle accredited to St. Anthony of his sermon to the fishes on the bank of the river Brenta. "
"St. Anthony is considered the greatest thaumaturgist (miracle worker) of the times. The globe symbolized St. Anthony as being ""the saint of the whole world"". He was the worker of miracles, even the miracle of making us understand. The globe also represents the world of which Christ is King. The Sacrament of Marriage is represented by the entwined rings which symbolize the loving union of husband and wife. The Sacrament of Marriage is a symbol of the union of Christ with the Church and the church in the window symbolizes this. "
"Suddenly he found himself surrounded by a supernatural brightness, more brilliant than the sun in its splendour, amidst which the Lover of humble souls appeared to him, not crowned with thorns and with bleeding temples, but under the form of a little Child of marvelous beauty and grace. The sixth window depicts St. Anthony with the Child Jesus. It is a serene and beautiful scene and includes seven candles representing the seven sacraments. Candles symbolize that Our Lord is the light of the world. White represents purity and innocence, the hue of God. It is a night scene and blue/purple colours represent hope, the love of divine works, sincerity and piety. It is emblematic of suffering and endurance, all characteristics of St. Anthony."
"St. Anthony preached and taught, always remembering what St. Francis asked of him - that he remember to pray and stay true to God. ""In all his labours he never forgot the admonition of his spiritual father, St. Francis, that the spirit of prayer must not be extinguished. If he spent the day in teaching and heard the confessions of sinners till late in the evening, then many hours of the night were spent in intimate union with God."" He retreated each day to a natural rock cave to study deeper the love of God for man. ""Dwell in the rock"" This rock is Jesus Christ. We have to establish ourselves in Him and let Him be the constant theme in our lives and the object of our affections. The Sacrament of Penance is represented by the keys which reflects the power of the priest to forgive sin in the name of Jesus. "
"This is the last window in the story of St. Anthony's life. ""During Lent in 1231, Anthony was preaching in Padua. After Easter, Anthony set out with two companions for a friend's estate near the city. on the way, they made Anthony a cell in a walnut tree by binding the branches together. Later that spring he died, on the way back to Padua."" The tree is inspired by this passage and also represents the tree of knowledge (St. Anthony was a teacher) and the tree of life. The lilies are placed at the foot of the tree to represent a sign of his holiness of life. St Anthony is often pictured with lilies. Green symbolizes renewal, immortality and contemplation, triumph of live over death. The cool colours in this window lend a quiet pensive nature to the final chapter of St. Anthony's life. "