Post by Hildegard on May 9, 2020 1:22:29 GMT
MIRACLES OF ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
MIRACLES WORKED DURING THE LIFE OF ST. ANTHONY
1. The Miracle of Tongues
AMONG the saints of the Church few are better known than the great St. Anthony of Padua. Endowed with great natural gifts, enjoying excellent health, a powerful voice, combined with great eloquence, an admirable delivery, a perfect knowledge of the Scriptures and theology, he was, soon after his ordination, sent to preach in France, Italy and Portugal.
Although in his youth he had never spoken anything but Portuguese, he, like the apostles after Pentecost, re- ceived that wonderful gift of tongues, which not only enabled him to preach even with eloquence in French and Italian, but to make himself under stood by people from all parts of the world.
An instance of this may be given:
When ordered by the Holy See to preach the Lenten sermons at Rome he was perfectly understood by the immense multitude from all nations, whom the renown of his great sanctity and marvellous gifts had attracted.
This same gift was of most frequent occurrence during his missionary career.
2. Dumb Animals Obey the Saint
There was near the monastery of the Friars Minor, at Montpellier, a large pool filled with frogs, whose perpetual croakings greatly disturbed the saint and his community. At last, wearied by this perpetual noise, he determined to put an end to it, and going to the pond, after blessing it, ordered the frogs to stop their croaking, which at once ceased, and the pond from that time was called St. Anthony's Pond.
But stranger still, if a frog was taken out of this pond and placed in another, it instantly recovered its power of croaking, while it was just the reverse were a strange frog put into St. Anthony's Pond.
3. The Sermon to the Fishes at Rimini
During the eleventh and twelfth centuries Europe had much to suffer from various heresies, more especially from that of the Albigenses, which infested the south of France and north of Italy.
God, ever watchful over His spouse, the Church, soon raised up two great men, St. Francis and St. Dominic, who, with their sons, came to her assistance.
St. Anthony of Padua, on account of his great sanctity and learning, was chosen by his superiors to be one of the first to enter the battlefield. Rimini, in Romagna, in spite of all the endeavors of the Holy See and of its own saintly bishop, continued to remain the hotbed of heresy, and here it was St. Anthony began his arduous task of conversion.
The heretics, on hearing who was to enter the lists against them, were filled with dismay, but instigated by the evil one, resolved at any cost to face their enemy.
The saint on his arrival met with the reverse of a cordial reception; the church in which he was to begin his labors was empty, save for a few old men and women; but his longing for the glory of God and salvation of souls was too great to make him hesitate for a moment. He therefore ascended the pulpit, and preached with such earnestness and zeal that the heretics, on hearing about it, determined to leave nothing undone to get rid of one who was so dangerous an opponent.
This great servant of God, being informed of their intentions, withdrew to a remote part of the city, to prepare himself by prayer, fasting and penance for the encounter, imploring at the same time the mercy of God on this poor benighted people.
His enemies had, however, not lost sight of him, and on seeing him leave his retreat, some of them followed him to the place where the river Marecchia empties itself into the Adriatic. Here the saint stopped, and in a loud voice commanded the fishes of the sea and river to come forth and listen to the word of God, saying: "Come, ye senseless fishes of the deep, and by your attention to the word of your God and mine, put to shame these men, who in their blindness and hardness of heart refuse to hear it."
The words were barely out of the saint's mouth before a great commotion was noticed in the sea. Thousands of fishes of every size and species were seen to come in the greatest order to its surface, the smaller ones placing themselves in front, and the larger ones behind. Then began one of the most extraordinary sermons ever preached. The saint addressed them as if they were beings endowed with reason.
"Oh! ye fishes of the deep, praise and thank your God and Creator for the unspeakable blessings He has lavished on you, favoring you above all dumb animals. See and admire the beautiful home He, in His infinite goodness, has prepared for you; look at those crystal waters, in which it is so easy for you to find a refuge against the storm and the enemy. Not only has He provided for all your wants, but He has made you prolific above all other creatures. You alone have been exempted from the dominion of your fellow beings and from His wrath at the time of the deluge. To you it has been given to save His prophet Jonas; to cure His blind servant. Tobias; to be the food of the penitent; to procure for the Saviour of mankind and His disciples the tribute money due to Caesar; it was after His Resurrection by eating of your flesh He proved He was truly risen from the dead; it was over your heads He walked on the sea, and after the great draught of fishes, He called His apostles fishers of men."
The fishes seemed to be filled with admiration, and anxious not to lose one of his words, their numbers ever increasing, marking their approval by the lifting up and down of their heads, the opening of their mouths, but not one of them thought of leaving the spot till the saint had blessed them, and ordered them to return to their homes below, when they immediately disappeared. But the commotion of the waters continued for some time after. In the meantime, so deep had been the impression made upon the bystanders, eye-witnesses of this remarkable scene, that many hastened back to the city, imploring their friends to come and see the miracle; others burst into tears, and kneeling at the feet of the saint, implored forgiveness, while only a few remained obdurate in their heresy.
St. Anthony, availing himself of this opportunity, at the close of the sermon to the fishes addressed the immense multitude now gathered together, exhorting them to repentance, rebuking them for their unbelief and ingratitude, pointing out to them the heinousness of sin, and showing them what a lesson of obedience the fishes had just given them.
It was through this sermon that Rimini was purged from heresy.
4. Why St. Anthony is Invoked for Lost and Mislaid Things
The following incident in the life of St. Anthony accounts for his being invoked for lost and mislaid articles:
During his stay at the Franciscan monastery at Montpellier St. Anthony was not only engaged in preaching, but also in teaching theology to his younger brethren. It was here a most extraordinary adventure happened to one of his novices. The latter, weary of the monastic life, suddenly left the monastery, taking with him a book of psalms, copied and annotated by the saint for the benefit of his pupils.
The loss of this book was deeply felt by St. Anthony, as books at that time were only written, the art of printing being unknown, an ordinary book costing at least a hundred dollars of our money.
In the year 1240 the monks at Camaldoli paid as much as two hundred gold ducats for an illuminated missal. (See History of Pope Innocent III., volume iv.) Whole fortunes sometimes were spent in the purchase of a single book.
What pained the saint even more than the loss of a work invaluable to him, was the outrage committed against God,and the spiritual danger threatening the culprit. The saint, with his usual trust in God, at once betook himself to prayer, humbly imploring the divine mercy on the unhappy youth, and at the same time asking for the restitution of his book. His prayer was barely finished before it was heard. Just at that moment, as the thief was about to cross a bridge, the devil, in the shape of a hideous negro, appeared before him with an axe in his hand, threatening at once to kill him and trample him under foot if he did not immediately retrace his steps. The novice, terrified at the sight of the monster, hastened to obey, and falling at the feet of the servant of God, not only gave back the book, but implored forgiveness, begging to be readmitted into the monastery.
The saint, full of gratitude to God, readily forgave the culprit, warning him at the same time against the snares of the devil and encouraging him to persevere in his holy vocation.
The stolen book has been for years preserved in the Franciscan monastery at Bologna.
5. A Messenger from Hell Unmasked
While the saint was preaching at Puy a messenger suddenly appeared in the midst of the congregation, calling out to a lady in a loud voice that her son had been foully murdered by his enemies. Anthony, who easily discovered who the messenger was, commanded silence by a motion of his hand, and, after consoling the lady by telling her that her son was never in better health in his life and that she would shortly see him, added that the supposed messenger was no other than the evil one, who had only come in the hopes of disturbing the sermon and marring its effects. This proved perfectly true, as the pretended messenger at once vanished. The saintly preacher then availed himself of the opportunity thus presented to him to warn his hearers against the artifices of the evil one.
6. The Consoler of Mothers
Whilst at Brives God glorified His ervant by making him work many miracles.
A poor woman had gone to hear the saint preach, leaving her child alone, with no one to take care of him.
During her absence the little one fell into a caldron of boiling water, and on her return she found him playing unhurt in his dangerous bath.
But a greater miracle than that was worked on another occasion. A mother having left her infant at home by itself, in order to go and hear the sermon, found him on her return dead in his cradle. In the midst of her grief she rushed back to the church and informed the saint of what had taken place. "Go home," he replied, "your son liveth," making use of the same words as Our Lord did when the father asked Him to cure his son. Full of confidence in St. Anthony, she hastened back, and to her great joy, found the baby up and playing with his little companions.
7. The Rain respects the Friend of the Saints
It happened one day that the cook of the monastery at which the saint was staying had nothing to give the brethren to eat, and went and told Anthony of his difficulty. The saint at once went to see a pious lady he knew, begging her to have compassion on his brethren and send them a few cabbages. So great was the veneration in which he was held that she immediately, in spite of the inclemency of the weather, for it was pouring rain, ordered her servant to go into the garden and cut as many vegetables as the monks would require.
The maid obeyed and took them to the convent. Notwithstanding the drenching rain, she returned home perfectly dry, and, full of admiration, said to her mistress: "When you want something done for Father Anthony or the other monks, do, pray, send me; I would not care if the weather was a thousand times worse than to-day; see, there is not a drop of rain on my clothes and my shoes are not even damp."
The lady, full of admiration, earnestly recommended the monks to the care of her only brother, a canon at Noblet,entreating him to assist them, as far as lay in his power, and to rest assured that God would reward him a hundredfold for his charity.
8. An Extraordinary Prophecy
While the saint was at his monastery at Puy he used sometimes to meet a lawyer, who led a very bad and profligate life. Every time they met the saint would uncover his head and bow most respectfully to him. Thinking the servant of God was only laughing at him, the lawyer one day turned round and said to him: "If I did not fear the judgment of God I would soon make you repent of insulting one who has never injured you, by thrusting my sword through your body."
The saint replied that, far from having any intention of insulting him, he only bowed through a feeling of deep love and respect, for in thus saluting him he was saluting one who was to be a glorious martyr, and begged of him, when undergoing his tortures, not to forget him in his prayers. The lawyer for the time being laughed at what seemed to him to be a most unlikely thing. Strange to say, the prophecy was shortly afterwards fulfilled. A bishop started for Palestine, with the intention of converting the Saracens, and urged on by a secret impulse from heaven, the lawyer followed him. On his arrival he was suddenly filled with such a desire to convert the infidels that he himself at once began to preach the truths of the Christian religion to them and point out the wickedness of Mahometanism, which so enraged these fanatics that after making him a prisoner and torturing him for three days, they put him to death. When about to die he revealed to those present how the saintly Father Anthony had predicted his martyrdom, declaring at the same time that a great prophet had risen in their midst.
9. St. Anthony the Consoler of Persecuted Women
St. Anthony always took a great interest in women in distress, or persecuted, and they therefore look on him as their special protector.
Among those who, owing to the sanctity of the Franciscans, held them in great veneration and aided them in their daily wants, was a lady who suffered much from a jealous and irritable husband. One evening, after finishing some work and making some purchases for the Brothers, finding it too late to take them to the monastery that night, she took them home with her. This so greatly roused the anger and jealousy of her husband that, not content with loading her with reproaches, he pulled almost all her hair off her head. The poor woman was naturally greatly hurt at such treatment, but full of confidence in her good Father Anthony, after carefully gathering up all her hair, she wrote, begging of him to call on her the next day. Her trust in the saint was not misplaced. After hearing her story he immediately on his return to his monastery, summoned his community together and begged of them to unite with him in praying for their benefactress. These prayers were not in vain, for before they were finished the pain left her and her head was covered with hair, as if nothing had happened.The sight of this miracle was not only the means of converting her husband, the Life of St. Anthony. but also of making him a great benefactor to the monastery.
10. Truth from the Lips of a Little Child
St. Anthony, when travelling through Romagna, not only visited Padua, but also Polesine and Ferrara. He remained some time in the last place and worked a miracle as touching in its circumstances as it was beneficial in its results. A nobleman in that city had married a lady of remarkable beauty and highly gifted. Her rare talents, winning manners and accomplishments soon made her a general favorite in society, which so incensed her husband and excited his jealousy that it was hardly possible for her to live with him, and their home became one scene of continual strife.
The birth of a lovely boy, far from bringing peace to the unhappy couple,only increased the suspicions of the wretched father, who now, under the complete power of the evil one, determined to destroy both mother and child. Whilst he was thus fostering these evil thoughts in his mind, St.Anthony came to preach a mission in this city, and the lady, like Susanna of old, came to this new Daniel, certain that she would through his intercession obtain the conversion of her husband.
What follows will show how success attended the prayers of the servant of God. Not long afterward, whilst this gentleman and several others were talking together with the saint on the public square, the mother, as if inspired by God, sent the nurse to take a walk with the infant. At the sight of the child the jealous husband bit his lips with vexation and anger. St. Anthony, on the contrary, drew near the nurse and began caressing the child, asking him, as if in a joke, "Who is your father, my little one?" The bystanders smiled at this childish question. But the servant of God had an object in view, the justification of the innocent. The little babe, only a few weeks old, smilingly turning his face to where his father stood, replied in a clear voice, to the astonishment of all present:
"There is my father." St. Anthony, putting the child into the arms of the now delighted parent, said: "Take the child and never again doubt he is your son, since he himself has told you so." The happy husband at once carried him home in triumph to his mother, and from that time peace and joy reigned in this favored household.
The news of this event spread far and wide, and there is a memento of it to be seen sculptured in marble in the chapel of the saint at Padua.
11. Broken Goblet and Running Barrel
The Vicar-General of the Franciscan Order, Brother Elias, on the death of the saintly founder, St. Francis of Assisi, in a pathetic circular convoked all the superiors of the various provinces to attend a general chapter, in order to proceed to the election of his successor. It was probably in the autumn of A. D. 1226 that Anthony, accompanied by one of his brethren, went to Italy, passing through Provence in order to be present at this general chapter.
On their way through Provence they stopped to rest at one of the towns, in the house of a pious woman. She, being anxious to pay her weary guests as much respect as she possibly could, borrowed a splendid cut glass goblet from one of her neighbors for them to drink their wine out of. Unfortunately the companion of the saint, wanting to examine it more closely, took it up in his hand and broke it.
This was not the only mishap. The kind hostess, thinking only of the comfort of her guests, forgot to turn the tap of the barrel when she went to draw their wine, and on returning to the cellar found it had all run out. The saint, seeing how distressed she was by these misadventures, bowed his head in prayer, and to the great astonishment of the good woman, who was silently watching him, she saw the broken pieces of the goblet unite together, leaving no mark of breakage.
Full of hope, she ran to the cellar, and to her great joy, the barrel, which before the occurrence was half empty, was now filled with the most delicious wine.
St. Anthony, in his deep humility, at once continued his journey to Italy, so as to avoid the applause awaiting him as soon as the news of this fresh miracle got abroad.
12. The Carved Capon
St. Anthony was one day invited by a party of heretics to come to dine with them, in order, as they said, to give them the opportunity of laughing at his stupidity. He good-naturedly accepted their invitation. After sitting down to table a large bat, such as are found in Sicily, was served up to him, with the request to carve it. When, without being the least disconcerted, he began to do so, they could hardly refrain from laughing aloud; but soon their laughter was changed into astonishment, for hardly had the saint begun to carve the wretched bird before it was changed into a magnificent capon, emitting the most delicious smell. This miracle so completely changed their hearts that they not only acknowledged the power of the servant of God, but renounced their errors and were received into the Church.
13. The Apparition of the Holy Child.
The Friars Minor had no monastery within the walls of Padua, the nearest one, at Arcella, outside the city, being about three-quarters of an hour's walk. It often happened that, owing to the gates being closed early in the evening, it was impossible for the saint on account of his missionary work, to return home. But he easily found a night's shelter among his friends, who were only too happy to have him for their guest. Tito Borghese, Count of Campo San Pietro,one of the saint's dearest friends, was among the few whom he honored the most with his presence. This noble man had so great a veneration for him that he carefully noted down all that took place during his visits, even rising up at night to watch his guest through the keyhole. Once, when thus visiting him, he noticed an extra ordinary light piercing through the chinks of the saint's apartments. Anxious to discover the cause of this, he drew near, and to his great surprise saw through the cracks of the door St. Anthony holding a beautiful child in his arms, whom he was lovingly caressing. His host was first at a loss to understand how this lovely infant had entered the apartment of his guest, but soon discovered, through his majestic bearing and the rapture of St. Anthony, that the child was no other than our divine Lord, who, under this form, had come to console, encourage and strengthen His faithful servant. The apparition lasted some time, then suddenly disappeared, leaving the room in total darkness. At once the saint rose from his prayers, and on going to his bedroom, knocked against his host in the dark.
As if guilty of a crime, he entreated his friend not to betray his secret. During the lifetime of St. Anthony the Count faithfully kept his word, but after his death, with tears streaming down his face, he gave a minute account of everything that had taken place. The heavenly light, of a bluish color, issuing forth from the divine Child, although brighter and more beautiful than the sun, did not dazzle the eye, whilst at the same time the heart was filled with unutterable joy.
He, moreover, declared that the holy Child Himself had informed the saint,by pointing to the door with His finger, that he was watched, but that St. Anthony appeared to pay no attention to this, as if anxious not to deprive his friend of this heavenly consolation. He furthermore added that the holy Child was standing on the breviary of the saint.
This apparition has been so frequently mentioned by old historians that its veracity cannot be doubted. It is for this reason St. Anthony is usually represented with the holy Child standing on his breviary.
14. Flight to Lisbon
While the father of St. Anthony, Don Martin de Buglione, was living at Lisbon a murder was committed in the street close to his house and the corpse thrown into his garden, so that suspicion might fall upon him. The nobleman was in fact accused of the murder, thrust into prison, and a long and painful trial began, with every prospect of ending in his being condemned to death. St. Anthony was just then at the monastery in Padua working for the interests of that God for whose sake he had left everything dear to him. But God, in permitting this accusation, intended through it to make His beloved child known and glorified in his own land. Informed during prayer of his father's situation, he, in spite of his being provincial, went at once, according to his usual custom, to beg permission from the superiors to absent himself from the monastery for a few days. This granted, he started for Lisbon, convinced he would reach that city before sentence of death had been pronounced, meanwhile continuing his prayers for his unhappy parent. After journeying some distance he suddenly found himself transported to Lisbon, and his feelings can be easily imagined on receiving this fresh favor from heaven.
He at once went to the place where the court was sitting, and began to plead his poor father's cause. The judges, although struck by the eloquence and cleverness of this strange Father, could not be convinced of the innocence of the accused. Anthony, repulsed by men, did not lose heart, and after a few moments spent in prayer, without asking leave or giving the judges time to recover from their astonishment, went to the cemetery, followed by the judges and an immense crowd of people, attracted hither by curiosity, and ordered the body of the murdered man to be exhumed. As soon as the coffin was visible he then, in a loud voice, in the name of God, commanded the deceased to bear witness before the judges present as to whether Don Martin de Buglione was his murderer or not. The corpse at once obeyed, and sitting up, one hand raised and the other leaning against the ground, replied in a clear and sonorous voice: "Don Martin de Buglione is not my murderer." The youth then entreated St. Anthony to give him the priestly absolution from excommunication which his sudden death had deprived him of. After receiving it he quietly laid him self down in his coffin, not to be disturbed again. As for St. Anthony, he suddenly disappeared from both judges and people, who cried aloud, as if awaking from a dream: "A miracle! a miracle! a great miracle!" It was thus that through the intervention of his son Don Martin de Buglione was declared innocent and restored to liberty.
The reply, "I am come to save the innocent, and not to betray the guilty," which St. Anthony made to the judges when asked who was then the real culprit, soon spread far and wide. He returned back to the monastery of Santa Maria dell' Arcella in the same miraculous manner after an absence of one day and two nights.
15. St. Anthony Again Rescues His Father
St. Anthony's father held an important post at the court of Lisbon.What it was is not exactly known; but it is certain he had a great deal to do in the management of the royal revenues. Owing to the fact that he always thought others as good and honest as himself, he one day neglected asking for a receipt from certain officials of the royal household, to whom he had paid large sums of money. The latter, jealous of his high position, and more especially of the royal favors lavished on him, had long been waiting for an opportunity to ruin him. They, therefore, gladly availed themselves of this occasion, declaring they had not received the money. A lawsuit was begun, and he certainly must have lost it for want of proofs but for the intervention of his son, Anthony, who suddenly appeared before the dishonest officials, and, looking them straight in the face, bore witness as to the day, hour, place, and even coin, in which the money had been paid, at the same time threatening them with the vengeance of God did they not at once give the required receipt. Terrified at having to confront such a witness, the enemies of the count acknowledged having received the money, and from that time Don Martin de Buglione was no longer molested by his enemies.
16. Where Your Treasure Is
There Also is Your Heart Among the many vices infesting Florence, usury was the one against which the saint waged the greatest war.
St. Bonaventure himself relates an occurrence which took place in that city, and of which St. Anthony availed himself in one of his sermons to illustrate how severely God punishes that vice.
A rich usurer died, and whilst the saint was in prayer God revealed to him that this man's soul was in hell on account of his unjust dealings with others. An immense crowd of people had gone to hear the saint preach the funeral sermon. He at once, on ascending the pulpit, began by pointing out the heinousness of the sin of usury, declaring that usurers in their thirst for gold were the enemies of mankind, desiring nothing so much as war, famine, pestilence and so forth, so as to enrich themselves at the expense of others, and satisfy their craving for those riches in which their happiness alone consisted. Then, speaking with still greater emphasis, he exclaimed:
"They are also the enemies of their own souls, for it is indeed rare for a usurer to become holy." Adding:
"This is precisely what has happened to the one to whom these last honors are being paid," and pointing to the catafalque before him, he continued:
"To prove the truth of my assertion you need only go and look at the chest of money, which, for the short time he lived on earth, was the joy and god of his heart, and you will find there that heart lying under his gold. For the Son of God Himself has declared, 'Where your treasure is there also is your heart.' "
The people at this announcement remained at first perfectly dumbfounded, after which crowds of them rushed to the house of the deceased in order to ascertain for themselves the truth of this assertion, insisting upon the chest being opened, and there, to their great astonishment, found the heart still warm, lying under the gold. But not yet fully convinced of the truth, they again returned to the church where the corpse was lying, and on opening the body found no heart in it. Filled with indignation against the usurer, they declared his body should not be buried in consecrated ground, and taking it off the catafalque, dragged it out of the city and threw it on a place where dead beasts were buried.
This wonderful occurrence did not fail to produce a good and lasting impression on the people. From that time usury was almost stamped out of Florence; but the respect and veneration in which St. Anthony was held were such that he and his companion fled from the city to seek the solitude of Mt. Alvernia.
17. St. Anthony Cures a Cripple
Whilst the saint was at Padua a youth called Leonardo accused himself in confession of having kicked his mother so violently that she fell to the ground. St. Anthony, wishing to make him understand the enormity of his crime, said to him: "The foot of one who kicks father or mother deserves to be cut off." The young man did not understand his words in the sense he meant them, and on returning home actually went and chopped off the foot with which he had kicked his mother. This news soon reached the ears of the saint, who at once went to see the youth. After making the sign of the cross upon the mutilated limb both leg and foot were again joined together, without leaving any mark.
18. Bilocation of the Saint
Another wonderful miracle has been handed down to posterity. Whilst preaching on Easter Sunday in the cathedral at Montpellier the saint suddenly remembered he had to sing the Alleluia at the convent Mass. He paused for an instant and was silent, as if trying to get breath. But in reality he was singing the Alleluia in his own monastery, after which he resumed his sermon. Such occurrences naturally caused St. Anthony to beheld in great veneration by everybody.
19. Wind and Rain Obey St. Anthony
Another extraordinary occurrence took place at Bourges, in France, the representation of which was long to be seen carved on one of the portals of the cathedral.
Owing to the vast crowds who wanted to hear the saint preach, it was found impossible for any of the churches or squares within the city to contain them. It was therefore decided to hire a large field outside the city walls, and the people, headed by the canons and clergy, walked in procession to the place. Fortunately it was summer. When St. Anthony began his first sermon the weather was magnificent, but suddenly the sky became overcast, a high wind began to blow, dark clouds were seen floating in the air, and distant peals of thunder were heard. The immense crowd became alarmed and began to think of seeking- shelter, when the saint, noticing the movement, quietly said to them: "Do not be frightened, remain in your places; not one drop of rain will touch you."
Full of confidence in his words not one left, and St. Anthony continued his sermon in the midst of a most terrific hail and thunder-storm, and neither the saint nor his vast congregation received one drop of rain.
Even the ground on which they stood was perfectly dry, just in the same manner as when ages before the Israelites passed through the waters of the Red Sea.
At the sight of the miracle a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to that God whom the rain and winds obey burst forth from the lips of all those present, who were also filled with still greater respect and veneration toward one whom God so highly favored.
20. Zeal for the Word of God
The more St. Anthony endeavored to remain hidden and unknown, the more did God exalt His servant be fore his death. A noble lady, richly dressed, was going to hear one of the Lenten sermons preached by the saint, accompanied by her servants. Absorbed in her own thoughts, she paid little attention to the road, and fell into a pool filled with dirty water. She naturally expected to be covered with mud, which, to her great vexation, would have prevented her from hearing the sermon. Strange to say, on her being assisted out of the pool, not a speck of mud was to be seen on her clothes.
The news of this miracle was soon repeated from mouth to mouth, and was universally attributed to the prayers of St. Anthony.
A twofold lesson can be learned from it. First, that extravagance in dress, even in the wealthy, is displeasing to God, and secondly, that the hearing of the word of God is certain to bring down a blessing.
21. The Saint's Sermon is Heard at a Great Distance
A woman, living at about an hour's distance from the church where the saint was to preach, wanted very much to hear him, but was prevented, owing to her husband's illness. Not able to console herself for the loss, she stepped out on to the balcony and leaning on the railings, longingly looked in the direction where the sermon was being preached. Suddenly she fancied she could hear every word the preacher said, as distinctly as if she had been inside the church. Fearing it might be an illusion, she ran and begged her husband to come and listen. The sick man at once complied with her request, and he also distinctly heard what the saint said. Their joy can be easily imagined; but in order to be sure it was no illusion on their part, they asked their neighbors on their coming home what was the subject of the sermon, and then informed them of what had taken place, to the greater glory of God and of His holy servant Anthony.
22. Cure of a Paralyzed Child
One day after his sermon, as the saint was hurrying back to his monastery, in order to avoid the applause of the multitude, he was stopped by a man carrying in his arms a little girl, both of whose feet were paralyzed, so that it was impossible for her to walk. Besides this, she suffered from epileptic fits of extraordinary violence. The unhappy father, full of confidence in the saint, determined to ask his assistance, and kneeling at his feet, holding the little one in his arms, implored him to bless her. Filled with pity for the unhappy parent, St. Anthony immediately did as requested. On his return home the poor man, certain his child was cured, placed her on the ground, making her stand, holding by the rail of a bench. Shortly afterward, when she began to take a few steps, he gave her a stick, but soon that was discarded, and Padovana, full of glee, was seen running about the room, perfectly cured. From that time she never suffered either from epilepsy or paralysis.
These wonderful cures were almost of daily occurrence, so that the same thing could have been said of the saint as of Our Lord : "He went about doing good and curing all."
23. A Martyr's Death Predicted
God also bestowed upon His servant the gift of prophecy, and the saint predicted to a woman at Assisi that the son about to be born to her would suffer martyrdom, which indeed happened. He was called Philip, and after joining the Franciscans was sent to Asia, recently recaptured from the Christians by the Saracens. After courageously refusing to abjure Christianity and embrace Mahometanism, he was cruelly tortured, being flayed alive, and he, with several other Christians whom he encouraged to suffer martyrdom, was beheaded.
24. Death of St. Anthony
The Great Miracle Worked After His Death The city of Padua, so often the scene of St. Anthony's apostolic labors during his lifetime, was also to witness his death. On his return to that city, just before Lent, he was entreated to preach the Lenten sermons. This, in spite of his excessive weakness, he agreed to do.
But hardly were they finished before he felt himself attacked with that illness which he knew would be his last. He received all the sacraments with the greatest devotion, having only one desire left, that of soon beholding the face of his God.
On the 13th of June, whilst the saint was lying in his death agony on his wretched pallet, in a small convent near Padua, towards evening, the news reached the city that he was ill, dying.
Immediately an immense crowd of people hastened to the monastery to ascertain the truth, and receive a last blessing from their beloved father.
When about to breathe his last the dying saint, as if anxious to give one more token of his love for our blessed Lady, was distinctly heard, in the midst of the tears and sobs of those surrounding his bedside, to sing in an angelic voice the beautiful line: gloriosa Domina, excelsa super sidera "O glorious Mother of God, raised above the skies," and with these words on his lips he expired.
God, to glorify His saint, worked many miracles in his behalf, but the greatest took place A. D. 1326, thirtytwo years after his death. The inhabitants of Padua had built a magnificent church in his memory, and St. Bonaventure came himself to superintend the removal of the body. On opening the coffin nothing but bones were found, except the tongue, which was exactly the same as when the saint was alive. At this sight St. Bonaventure, falling on his knees, thus apostrophized it: "O blessed tongue, who hast so often praised your God, now does He, in His turn, make manifest how great are your merits." He then placed it in a magnificent casket, covered with precious stones, and carried it to the chapel, where it is still to be seen.