Post by Hildegard on May 9, 2020 1:28:43 GMT
MIRACLES WORKED AFTER THE DEATH OF ST. ANTHONY
MIRACLES WORKED AFTER THE DEATH OF ST. ANTHONY
25. A Skull Injured
A YOUNG relative of the saint had so injured his skull through a fall that there was no hope of saving him through human means. The child was taken and placed on the altar dedicated to St. Anthony, and was so completely cured that he never suffered from any pain in his head again.
26. The Picture of St. Anthony
In the year 1683, Antonia Palormi, a young girl of fourteen, living at Naples, fell on her head from a great height on to the top of a stone building. She bled profusely from her right ear and was half killed. The child, who had a great devotion to her name sake, St. Anthony, not only wore a picture of the saint round her neck, but used daily to recite the thirteen Our Fathers and Hail Marys in his honor. In the midst of her battle between life and death, he appeared to her, and taking hold of her by her hair, said: "Even had you not called upon me, I would have come to your rescue, on account of your devotion to me." She, at once, out of gratitude, joined the Order of St. Francis.
27. In Company with St. Anthony
A child had fallen into the water, and its mother, who, from a distance, saw the accident, cried out: "Oh! St. Anthony, help." She looked in vain for her son, but at last, discovering him among the reeds in the river, succeeded in saving him. He was not at all hurt, but laughed heartily. On being asked the cause of his merriment, he replied: "I was playing with St. Anthony, who told the water not to harm me, and I like playing with him."
28. Boys Playing in a Mill Stream
A nobleman had promised to make every year a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Anthony, in thanksgiving for his having obtained for him the birth of a lovely boy, the darling of his heart. When the child was old enough, he used to accompany his parents to Padua. But one year, just as they were about starting, the boy fell ill, and the father went alone. In a few days he was quite well again, and one day went out with his little companions to play in the dry bed of a mill stream, near the fields. Whilst they were amusing themselves, the water was suddenly turned on, and no trace of the ten children could be found. The grief of the distracted mothers on hearing the news of this accident, can easily be imagined. In the meantime the count returned from Padua, and his first thought was to ask for his son. At first no one dared tell him the truth, but soon it eked out.
In the midst of his anguish, on learning this news, he had recourse to St.Anthony and said to him: "My dear, holy protector, it rests with you to restore to me the child you gave me, for surely you will not take him back."
After this prayer, he rose from his knees, certain that his heavenly friend would not desert him. He was right, for hearing the noise of boyish laughter, he looked out of his window and saw the merry little band of children, with his son in their midst, returning home from the meadow. It would be impossible here to describe the feelings of the happy parents. The boys, on being questioned how they had spent their time, replied they had had lots of fun, but knew nothing of what had happened. In this manner did the saint reward the pilgrimage of his pious votaries, by saving the lives of those little
ones so dear to them.
29. Back from Paradise
A Spanish princess had died, and her funeral was already ordered, but the queen mother, who had a great devotion to St. Anthony, now that all human assistance was of no avail had recourse to his intercession. In her grief she never left the corpse of her beloved daughter, and, with streaming eyes, said to our divine Lord: "It will not cost you more to raise my daughter from the dead than it did when you raised Lazarus from the grave, after being buried four days."
St. Anthony in heaven joined in her supplications, and to the joy and astonishment of all present, the young girl arose, and said to her mother: "Dearest mother, while you were praying to St. Anthony, I was in heaven, amid the choir of virgins, and I so clearly understood all the vanities of this world that I entreated God not to hear your prayers. He replied He could not refuse any favor to His servant, St. Anthony, and that also, on account of your earnest prayers, I must return to this world, to change your grief into joy, promising me, at the same time, I should return to my place among the blessed in a fortnight." Everything happened as she predicted.
A fortnight afterwards she expired, and went back to enjoy forever the presence of God.
30. Assassins Frightened
A priest in Padua, who had a great devotion to St. Anthony, had several enemies, who were eagerly watching for an opportunity to destroy him. One night, whilst they were waiting in ambush for the priest, a Franciscan monk suddenly placed himself a few steps before them. Finding he had no intention to move, one of them surlily ordered him in loud voice to move on. The Father gently, but firmly, replied, "Go your way yourselves; I shall remain here." Seeing him so determined, another rudely asked him:
"Pray, who are you?" "I am," he replied, "the saint of Padua." Upon which, as if struck down by some invisible power, they fell on their faces to the ground, just at the time when the priest, who, suspecting nothing, passed by, and was informed by his holy patron of the danger he had escaped. The would-be assassins, filled with remorse, humbly begged his forgiveness, and related how the great St. Anthony, without being called upon, watches over those who trust in him.
31. A Strong Shield
The following incident took place at Puglia, in the kingdom of Naples, before so many witnesses that the news of it soon spread all over the country. A peasant boy was digging a hole beside a steep rock, when it fell suddenly, carrying the boy with it in its fall. His younger brother, who had seen the accident, ran to tell his mother of it. Her first thought was to call on St. Anthony to help her, as well as those who were going to the rescue of her child. At last, in the presence of an immense crowd, the stones were removed, and to the great astonishment of all present, not only was the boy alive, but he had not even a scratch on his face or head. Being asked how he had been able to save himself, he replied: "As soon as you, mother, began praying to St. Anthony, he at once came and shielded me with his hand, so that not only did the sharp stones not fall on me, but I could breathe freely."
32. Dragged by a Mule
Once Father Coinage, S. J., who had a great devotion to St. Anthony of Padua, was returning to Palermo from Mazzara, in Sicily, accompanied by one of the Brothers, and saying his breviary. He had just come to that verse in the canticle of the youngmen in the fiery furnace: "Praise the Lord, all His works," when his mule, which was considered a quiet animal, took fright, and broke the bridle. The Father was thrown out of the saddle, and dragged for a considerable distance over a rough and ragged road, with his feet caught in the stirrups. He went on all the time saying his prayers, as if nothing was wrong. At last the mule was stopped. On getting up from the ground he told his companion, who expected to find him either dead or seriously injured: "It is to the prayers of St. Anthony that I owe my safety."
33. A Scoffer Changes into an Admirer
The following- account of a most extraordinary conversion, through the intercession of St. Anthony, was written by a gentleman living in Venice, A.D. 1677.
For many years he had been a Calvinist, and on his way back from Rome, visited Padua, where he heard so much about the miracles of St. Anthony, that, having no faith in them, he was sick of hearing them mentioned. Curiosity, however, made him visit the "Church del Santo," considered one of the most beautiful in the city. Whilst looking- at the chapel under which the body of the saint lay, he could not help thinking of the necessity of saving his soul, and on drawing near the sarcophagus, he began reading an account of the miracles engraved on it. He was so struck by the story of the mule adoring the Blessed Sacrament that he could not forget it. Trusting that travel would drive these thoughts, which pursued him night and day, away, he left Padua and started for Milan, but to no purpose. At last, yielding to grace, he became a fervent Catholic, and a devout client of St. Anthony. He was often heard to say he would rather lose all the goods of this world and suffer any amount of torture than desert the Catholic Church.
34. A Glass as Hard as a Rock
A Protestant soldier named Aleardino San Salvatore went to see his family at Padua. One day, whilst at table, the conversation naturally ran on the miracles of St. Anthony of Padua, recently deceased. Full of pride, and not believing a word of them, the heretic scoffingly said: "I will become a Catholic, if this glass,which I hold in my hand, does not break into pieces when I throw it against that stone," pointing to a large stone not far off. No sooner said than done. He threw the glass with such violence that the stone against which it was thrown was shivered to pieces, whilst the glass remained uninjured. Astounded at the sight of this miracle, he became a Catholic and made a present of the glass to the Franciscan monastery at Padua, where it may still be seen.
35. A Wish Granted
A lay Sister of the Order of the Poor Ladies of Mount Olivet approached the corpse of St. Anthony whilst it was still lying unburied in the church, and reverently kissing his hand, implored him, in her simplicity, to have her purgatory here on earth, so that she might go straight to heaven at her death. Her petition was granted.
On her return home she was seized with such violent pains all over her body that her screams could be heard all over the convent. At night they gradually abated, and she was able the next day to get up and go to the refectory.
She had hardly sat down, before they returned with such intensity that the mother abbess was compelled to send her to the infirmary. Here she had again recourse to the saint, begging of him this time to cure her. Remembering a poor woman had a piece of his habit, she sent for it, placed it on her body and instantly recovered.
36. A Poor Clare Cured
Sister Victoria, a poor Clare, belonging to the monastery at Vienna, certainly deserved her name, owing to her great confidence in God, even when laboring under the greatest difficulties. On one occasion, after being bled, one of the sinews of her right arm was so injured that the whole arm swelled up and became so inflamed that her life was despaired of. The pain, which was intense, never ceased, and the doctor lost every hope of saving her. Victoria alone, full of confidence in God and in the intercession of her patron, St. Anthony, felt convinced of the contrary. In stead of joining in the prayers of those surrounding her bedside, she repeated the Te Deum and antiphons. On the eve of the feast of St. Thomas, the inflammation had so increased that the Sisters expected every moment the bell to be tolled for her decease. Towards midnight a slight improvement was noticed in the state of the patient, which continued, so that in a few days she was able to move her hand without danger. On her recovery, she informed the prioress of what had taken place. About midnight the mother abbess had brought two Franciscan monks to her bedside, St. Anthony, and St. Bernardin of Sienna. One repeated the antiphons to her, and ordered her to stretch out her hand; the other had blessed her in the name of our dear Lord, and she was instantly cured.
37. Places Exchanged
During the Middle Ages, leprosy was very prevalent in Italy, and St.Bonaventure used often, in the antiphons, to implore the assistance of St.Anthony to obtain the cure of those attacked by this dire disease.
The following incident proves how powerful his intercession was: A poor leper, having heard of the miracles worked by St. Anthony, determined, full of confidence in his intercession, to go and pray on his tomb. On his way to the church, he met a soldier, who scoffingly said to him: "Where are you going, you simpleton? Do you think the ashes and bones of that Brother can heal you? Go, tell him with my compliments, I am not afraid of death, and he can send me your leprosy if he likes." The leper went his way, not heeding the words of the scoffer, but full of trust in the saint, and kneeling before his shrine soon fell into a beautiful sleep, during which he dreamt he saw St. Anthony, who kindly said to him: "Arise, brother, you are cured; go, give your crutches to the soldier; he sadly needs them." On awaking, he found it was no illusion; he was perfectly cured, and went at once, as he had been bidden, to seek the soldier, whom he found covered with leprosy. Giving him his crutches, said: "I am cured; my saint has told me to give you my crutches."
In this manner, two miracles were wrought: one of mercy, the other of chastisement. As for the soldier, the sight of this miracle touched his heart, and, full of repentance, he allowed himself to be carried to the shrine of the saint, hoping he would have compassion on him. Nor was he mistaken, for after his promising to lead a better life and become a good Catholic, he was also restored to health. He never forgot his promise, and became a most devout client of St. Anthony.
38. "Do You Know Me?"
Aldonisia, the daughter of Queen Taraxia, of Portugal, lay on a sick bed, given up by all, save the queen mother, who could not believe her child was going to die, for she felt confident that St. Anthony, whose devout client she was, would cure her darling.
"Come," said she to him in her anguish, "come, you were born in this land, come and obtain, through your powerful intercession, the cure of my child." Shortly after midnight, the young girl fell asleep, and the saint, appearing to her, said: "Dost thou know me? I am St. Anthony, and am come here at the request of your mother. You can have your choice, either to be with me to-day in heaven without passing through the flames of purgatory, or to recover and return to your mother." The child chose the health of the body and was immediately cured. Taking hold of the cord of St. Anthony, she cried out to her mother: "See, mother, here is St.Anthony, who has come to cure me."
The queen and her suite rushed to the bedside of the princess, and on finding her child cured, the mother fell on her knees to thank God and St. Anthony.
39. A Son Restored to his Parents
The following miracle took place at Rome, in the month of March, 1683: Don Nicholas Grassi, the president of the royal board of administration at Naples, having to go to Rome, took with him his wife and only son. They had scarcely reached the city before the child fell dangerously ill, and was given up by the doctors. His mother, a devout client of St. Anthony, full of confidence in his intercession, implored the saint to befriend her on this trying occasion. Suddenly at about three o clock in the afternoon of Shrove Tuesday, she heard her son calling out to the saint. She immediately ran to the sick-bed, but he, waving her away with his hand, distinctly cried out: "Anthony." She again asked him whom he was calling, and this time he replied: "I saw a monk in a dark habit; it must have been St.Anthony himself, for he held in one hand some lovely red and white roses, and in the other a book, on which a beautiful boy was standing." From that time the child got better, and in a few days was completely cured. On being taken to a church, where there was a picture of the saint, he at once pointed it out to his mother, saying: "Look, mother, there is the monk who appeared to me during my illness and cured me." Every time he met a Franciscan Father, he would exclaim : "There is a monk who wears the same habit as St. Anthony."
40. Gangrene Cured
In 1674, Count Mirola, the commander-in-chief of the papal army, sent to reinforce the Venetians in the war against the Turks, was seriously wounded in the ankle at the siege of Sebenico. In the hope of saving his life, the foot was amputated, but in spite of this, gangrene set in. The count, full of confidence in the intercession of St. Anthony, sent for one of his pictures, and placing it on the wounded limb, said: "Although I am only a miserable sinner, knowing how good thou art to us, I am certain, dear St. Anthony, of being cured through your powerful intercession."
The count's confidence was not misplaced; in a short time the wound was completely healed, and soon the news of this fresh miracle spread far and wide.
41. "Take Courage"
Such were the words which St. Anthony himself addressed, in 1682, to a poor man dying at Naples, of dropsy in the head. Emmanuel Caravascione, in spite of being given over by the doctors, and speechless, never lost hope, and although those round his bedside were expecting him every moment to breathe his last, he was himself silently imploring the saint to intercede for him and to come to his rescue. It was not in vain. About midnight, St. Anthony appeared to him and said: "Take courage, friend. I will help you," and disappeared. The sick man at once recovered his speech, called his wife, and, relating all that had just taken place, told her to go to the Franciscan church and earnestly implore the saint's intercession. To this the poor woman gladly acceded, immediately going barefooted to the church, where she had several Masses, together with the antiphons of the saint, said in his honor. On her return home, she found the doctor perfectly astonished at the marked improvement in the state of the patient. Whilst he was thus talking with her, her little three-year-old boy, who had been staying in the sick-room, suddenly ran up to her, pulling at her dress, wanting her to come and see St. Anthony, who was talking with his father. Not paying attention to what the little one said, she continued her conversation with the doctor and then went back to the sick-room, where, to her great astonishment, she found her husband perfectly recovered from his illness. "Oh, mamma,"said the child, reproachfully, "why did you not come sooner? See, St. Anthony is gone."
42. A Good Name Restored
In 1641, a parish priest in the Tyrol was falsely accused by some of his parishioners of having committed a dreadful crime, and denounced to his bishop. The priest, conscious of his innocence, did not hesitate for a moment, anticipating the summons, but, after appearing before the consistory, he was condemned and sent to prison.
Finding his good name gone, and that there seemed no chance of his obtaining redress from man, he did not lose heart, but at once wrote to St. Anthony, imploring his assistance. As it was impossible for him to take the letter to the monastery at Kattern, he sent it by a messenger, begging the monks to place it on the altar dedicated to the saint, which they did.
St. Anthony, ever the friend of the persecuted, came at once to the rescue of his devout suppliant, and soon made the judges discover the injustice of the accusation. The sentence of imprisonment pronounced against him was at once annulled, and he was honorably reinstated in his former parish. His calumniators, in order to save themselves from heavier penalties, were forced not only to retract their accusations, and pay all the expenses of the trial, but also to perform great works of charity.
43. A Lunatic Cured
In 1701, Herr Franz Zallinger, a gentleman highly respected in Botzen, was suddenly seized with madness while attending the services at the Franciscan church, and became so convulsed that it required several strong men to carry him out of the terror-stricken congregation, and to put him in one of the cells of the monastery, where he had to be closely watched. His brother George, a devout client of St. Anthony, had at once recourse to the saint's intercession in behalf of the unfortunate lunatic, who was immediately cured and restored to his family.
A magnificent ex voto, in the form of a large silver heart, was placed by the grateful family on the altar of St.Anthony, at Kattern, as a memento of this miraculous cure.
44. A Happy Death Obtained
A Spanish nobleman, noted for the ordial and respectful welcome he gave to the Franciscans who asked hospitality from him, lay at the point of death, when two Franciscan Fathers came and wanted to see him. On hearing of their arrival, he immediately ordered them to be shown up to his room, and said to them: "I have always longed for two of your religious to come and assist me in my last moments, and God has heard my prayer; do, pray, I entreat you, remain with me till all is over."
"Most willingly," replied the elder of the two monks, whose hands were marked with the stigmata; "we are here for that purpose. I am Francis and my companion is Anthony. We have only come down from heaven in order to bring you back with us." What a consolation for a man on his death-bed!
45. Crushed by the Fall of a Tree
In the year 1666, one of the laborers of a nobleman, called Johannes Kaspar Inderman, residing at Kurtasch, in the Tyrol, experienced the protection of St. Anthony in a most wonderful manner. One day whilst engaged in felling down a large tree, just after giving the last stroke his foot slipped, and the whole weight of the immense trunk fell on his body, rendering him unconscious. The wife of the noble man at once, on hearing of the accident, had recourse to the intercession of St. Anthony, promising to have two Masses said in his chapel at Kattern, if he would only save the life of the poor fellow. The promise was hardly made before the man got up unhurt. Out of gratitude to St. Anthony, he placed an ex voto in his chapel at Kaltern.
46. Carriage portion
In 1649, St. Anthony did a great act of kindness to a poor girl. The mother, pressed by extreme poverty, wanted to sell her beautiful daughter for money. The unhappy girl, in her anguish, went and knelt before the picture of St.Anthony, in the Franciscan church, imploring him, weeping bitterly, to save her honor. In the midst of her prayer,the saint stretched out his hand and handing a note to her, said: "Go to the bishop's administrator, and tell him in my name to give you for your marriage portion as much money as this paper weighs."
Full of joy, she at once obeyed, and presented the note to the aforesaid gentleman. He at first laughed at her but after putting the paper in one side of the scales, and finding it weighed two hundred silver crowns, remembered a promise he had made the year before to give the above- named sum of money, as a marriage portion, to a poor girl. He at once handed the sum over to her, thus saving her from dishonor.
47. Saved from Suicide
Discord is the greatest of all evils which can enter into a house. Union in wedlock, and in one's family makes life a real paradise on earth. Heaven cannot exist without harmony. Hell is one continual discord.
A most unhappy family lived in one of the small villages of Portugal. The husband, not content, on coming home at night, with calling his wife bad names, used to beat her, kick her, and even threaten to turn her out of doors. The cause of such conduct can be easily guessed; he used to stay out late at night and frequented bad company. The poor woman, at last despairing of her husband turning over a new leaf, determined to destroy herself. One night, after her husband had gone to his usual haunts, just as she was about fetching the rope which was to put an end to her misery in this world, she heard a knock at the door. On opening it, two Franciscan Fathers humbly asked if she could give them a night's lodging, saying: "We are come a great distance, and are called Francis and Anthony." On hearing these words, the poor woman exclaimed: "Oh, what beautiful names!
They are the names of two saints I love very dearly. Do, pray, come in, reverend Fathers; you are indeed welcome." She at once set about getting everything ready, so as to make them as comfortable as possible. While listening to their conversation about heavenly things, at supper, all thoughts of despair and suicide vanished, a feeling of peace and gratitude stole over her heart, making her thank God for having sent her such guests. As soon as the strangers seemed to be preparing to retire to rest, she withdrew to a little room, and there, falling on her knees, humbly implored God's forgiveness, promising Him, for the future, never to yield to despair, being certain that He who is constantly watching over those who place their whole trust in Him, never permits anything to happen to them but for their greater good.
Whilst still on her knees, she heard her husband enter the house. But oh, how changed! Instead of beginning to curse and swear at her, as soon as he saw her, he fell at her feet, his face bathed in tears, and humbly entreated forgiveness. What could have changed him so? It was soon explained. Immediately after the poor woman had left the Fathers, they had appeared to the cruel husband, and, after sternly reproaching him with his crimes, threatened him with eternal damnation if he did not at once amend. "Richly, indeed, do you deserve to be among the damned, after committing crime upon crime. You will certainly be cast into hell in three days if you do not at once quit this place. Repent of your sins, confess, do penance for them and amend.
Hasten home to your wife, ask her for the cord with which she was about to destroy herself, and beg her to forgive you. Tell her the two monks she received and welcomed into her house tonight are no other than St. Francis and St. Anthony." It would be impossible to describe the joy and gratitude of this now reconciled couple towards the two great saints who had been the instruments used by God to save them, soul and body. They at once, both of them, approached the Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar, and from henceforth led lives which were a foretaste of heaven.
48. The Great Harvest
A poor woman living near Padua had only a single field of wheat, which was so devoured by sparrows that hardly an ear of corn could be seen. No sooner had she driven them off one part of the field than they flew to another, with the greatest impudence. Finding her labor useless, she had recourse to St. Anthony, and, asking him to take care of her field, promised to visit his tomb nine times. Certain of his protection, she at once began her novena, and during that time left the field entirely under his care. After the novena was finished, she went to see how things were going on, and to her surprise found that not a sparrow was to be seen. That year she had a finer harvest than she ever had before.
49. The Storm Ceases and the Sea becomes Calm
A Maronite bishop, Timothy di Sarca, had left Mesopotamia to go to Rome. The coast of Ostia was al-ready seen in the distance, when suddenly a terrific hurricane arose on the Tyrrhenian sea, the ship being tossed about like a ball and her mast broken. All hopes of reaching land were given up, even by the oldest sailors, who only thought of preparing themselves for death. The good bishop, a devout client of St. Anthony, alone did not lose courage, and urged the passengers and crew to have recourse to St.Anthony, and to promise, did they reach the land, to burn a candle in his honor. To this all unanimously agreed. Immediately the storm ceased, the waters became as smooth as glass, and the vessel glided into port, driven by a favorable wind.
During his stay at Rome, the same bishop experienced another favor from his heavenly friend and benefactor. The Propaganda had given him a bill of exchange, in order to help him on his journey. Somehow or other, just as he was going to leave the city, it got mislaid and could not be found. In this dilemma he had at once recourse to his holy patron, and, having said Mass in his honor,begging of him to assist him, he returned to the house at which he was staying, where, to his great surprise, he found the bill lying on his table in his room.
50. "She is all Right Now" A ship, heavily laden with silk from Catalonia, had just reached the coast of Sicily, when a terrific storm arose, and the vessel was driven back to sea with such violence that she became perfectly unmanageable. Everybody on board thought they were lost, except one of the crew, who, in a loud voice, called upon St. Anthony to come to their rescue, saying: "Dear St. Anthony, become the pilot of this vessel; we hand her over to you.
"Immediately, on the sailors responding to this appeal, St. Anthony was seen at the helm, and, smiling at the crew, addressed them thus: "Let the vessel go by herself, she is all right now," after which he disappeared, and a gentle breeze drove the ship into harbor, without mast or rudder.
51. The Beacon
The remembrance of the protection of this great thaumaturgus is still preserved in the lagoons. Shortly after the canonization of the saint, a gondola containing more than twenty-six persons, whilst passing through Venice, during a night which was pitch dark, was caught in a sudden squall, and the boat was struck by the wind with such violence that for a moment the people in it did not know whether it was capsized or not. In this dilemma, they all cried out with one voice: "St. Anthony, help us; St. Anthony, help us." At once, in the midst of the darkness, a bright light was seen, and they found the boat was close to the little island of San
Marco Piccolo, where they were safely landed. The light then disappeared, and the rescued party fell on their knees to thank their heavenly benefactor.
52. The Singer in the Boat
During a violent storm, a poor fisherman in Portugal, whose sole means of getting an honest livelihood depended on his boat, had the misfortune to see it break from its moorings and drift into the open sea. In his distress, he at once appealed to St. Anthony. Two days afterwards, one of his neighbors came and told him how some young men, during a terrific storm, had seen a boat in the open sea, with no other occupant than a Franciscan monk at the helm, who was singing beautiful hymns. Struck by the coincidence, the poor man at once ran to the shore, where,to his great joy, he found his boat stranded on the beach.
53. Chains as an Altar Decoration
In the year 1672, a poor man, living in Cracovia, Poland, was unjustly accused of murder and condemned to the rack. This punishment, most terrible in itself, was frequently resorted to in the Middle Ages to force suspected criminals to confess the crimes of which they were accused, and it is certain the most innocent have declared themselves guilty of offences of which they had not even the remotest idea, rather than undergo this terrible torture a second time. Once a Capuchin Father was known, through fear of being again placed on this cruel instrument, to confess having struck Our Lord whilst He was hanging on the cross. What happened to the priest also happened to the poor Pole, who, whilst stretched on the rack, finding death preferable to what he was suffering, although quite innocent, declared he was guilty. On being taken back to prison, he began preparing himself for death, by receiving the sacraments of the Church, giving abundant alms and recommending himself especially to St. Anthony.
The good saint would not permit his devout client to suffer such a disgraceful death, and on the night before his execution appeared to him, opened the prison gates, and, breaking his chains, ordered him to take them to his judges, so as to have his sentence revoked. The proofs of his innocence were too palpable to be doubted; the man was set free, and at once, out of gratitude, placed the chains on the altar of the saint, where they are still to be seen.
54. St. Anthony is Never Invoked in Vain
The celebrated Jesuit Father, Daniel Papebroch, relates the following incidentincident which took place at Antwerp, in his youth, and which he never forgot: It happened that a woman in business who had received a note of hand from the head of a mercantile house could not find it anywhere, just at the time it became due. The loss of it did not at first trouble her very much, as having had dealing with the above-named house for several years, and her honesty being known to the firm, she felt certain payment would not be refused. She was mistaken; not only was she informed that the money had been already paid, but she was grossly insulted, which hurt even more than the loss of the money.
She therefore determined to consult a well-known soothsayer as to the best means of finding the lost note. Fortunately for her, she met on her way the mother of Father Papebroch, to whom she related what had taken place. After hearing her story, the lady strongly advised her to have a Mass said to St. Anthony, to which she at once agreed, and assisted at it herself. On her return home, she found a servant waiting for her, who informed her that his master, believing what she said to be true, was quite prepared to pay her the money with out the note being produced.
55. King Charles II of England
In 1655, Charles II, who had been banished from England, went to reside at Cologne. Whilst there, the little gold and silver plate he had, and which he greatly valued, was stolen. In spite of being a Protestant, he sent one of the gentlemen of his suite to beg of the Friars Minor to pray for his intentions. The following day, Father Werner Burich, a highly respected priest, whilst passing through the church, noticed a stranger beckoning to him and pointing to a confessional. Thinking something was wrong, he went at once to the place, and found there the sack containing the lost plate. He immediately sent for the superior of the monastery, Father Thomas Martine, who ordered two of the Brothers to restore the plate to the rightful owner. The king, delighted at having recovered his lost property, ordered an account of it to be published, which he attested and signed with his own hand.
56. The Grateful Captain
In 1674, a Swiss captain, stationed at Dunkirk, in French Flanders, one night on retiring to rest, put his purse, containing sixty gold doubloons, under his pillow, but on awakening the next morning could not find them; the purse had disappeared. He at once went to ask the assistance of St. Anthony, and had a Mass said in his honor at the Franciscan church. During the Offertory, somebody knocked at the door of the monastery.
On the porter opening it, a soldier, accompanied by another man, gave him the purse, which the Brother at first hesitated to receive. The soldier insisted, and, throwing it at his feet, exclaimed: "I did not steal the purse," and disappeared. When Mass was over, the money was restored to the captain, who, out of gratitude, made a present of the greater part of it to the monastery. A picture, commemorating this and other miracles worked by the saint, was
placed in his chapel.
57. A Child Stolen
In 1720, a poor woman left her little four-year-old child alone in her garden, surrounded by high walls, as she was obliged to go to Botzen on business. On her return from town, she went to fetch her little girl, who was nowhere to be found. Full of anguish, she immediately made a pilgrimage to St. Anthony's chapel, at Kattern, and on coming home, found the little one safe and sound in the house. On being questioned by her mother, she replied: "Whilst you were away, a man climbed over the wall of our garden, and carried me to the top of a big hill, but I had not been long there before a priest found me, and brought me home, telling me I must be a very good little girl and always say my prayers and mind what you tell me, which I certainly shall try." The grateful mother easily guessed that the good priest could be no other than St. Anthony.
58. Erysipelas Cured through
Invoking St. Anthony The youngest son of John Amaldus von Buren, a lad of thirteen, owing to a severe attack of erysipelas, had to have the knee bone of his right leg taken out. In spite of this painful operation, cancer set in, and the only hopes of saving the sufferer's life was by amputating the diseased limb. The boy, on hearing this, asked for a picture of St. Anthony, and full of confidence in his powerful intercession, implored him to take pity on him and cure him; promising if he did so, to make a pilgrimage to his shrine at Padua, and always to wear a gray dress in his honor. No sooner was the promise made than he felt himself perfectly cured. Shortly afterwards he started for Padua to fulfil his vow, and was able to kneel at the altar of the saint without feeling any pain. Those who had seen him during his illness could hardly believe in the cure, but, after carefully examining the knee, they found to their great astonishment no trace of the bone having been taken out.
59. The Bishop's Ring
Don Ignatius Martiques, Bishop of Cordova, had a great devotion to St. Anthony and received many favors from him. Once he lost his bishop's ring, which he had received at his consecration, and naturally, for this reason, the loss of it greatly troubled him. He at once had several Masses said for his intention, but the saint
seemed to have turned a deaf ear.
One day whilst at table with several gentlemen, the conversation ran upon the miracles the saint was working, and which filled the whole world with astonishment. The bishop also spoke about the many favors he had received, and how greatly he trusted the dear saint, but added: "I am just now rather inclined to quarrel with him, for in spite of my repeatedly asking him, he has not yet given me back my ring." Hardly had he uttered these words before the ring, to the astonishment of all present, fell on the table, as if coming from the ceiling, and every one joined in giving three cheers for St. Anthony.
60. The Manuscript Ready for the Press
The Dominican bishop, Ambrosius Catherinus, as renowned for his virtue as for his great learning, has written several books, among others one bearing the title of "Honor due to the Saints," from which the following anecdote is extracted: The bishop, on his way home from Toulouse, after travelling a considerable distance, discovered that a valuable manuscript, ready for printing, was missing. He immediately retraced his steps, in the hopes of finding it,
and even took the trouble of asking the governor of the city to assist him. Finding earthly aid of no avail, he had recourse to St. Anthony, promising to mention this favor in his book, were the manuscript found. Full of these thoughts, he resumed his journey and on the road met a stranger, who, drawing near to him, asked if he had not lost a manuscript. The bishop replied in the affirmative, and gave a description of the lost treasure. Upon which the man, after returning it to him, showed him the place where he had dropped it. Full of gratitude, the bishop faithfully kept his word, and gave an account of his loss in the book, which was printed at Lyons, 1541.
61. Heard during Mass
John Comez Cano, chamberlain to the Duke of Brabant, had a great lawsuit to carry on in the Senate House, but unfortunately some very important documents had been mislaid, with out which the case would be lost. In this predicament, John Comez Cano's only hope was to make an appeal to St. Anthony and implore his assistance, promising, in return, to have three Masses said in his honor. Full of these thoughts, he went to the Franciscan church in Brussels, and, while on his way to the chapel, met one of the Fathers in the cloisters, who, looking at him most benevolently, asked in Spanish the cause of his sadness. On being informed of it, he said: "Go and hear a Mass in honor of St. Anthony, and you will receive the lost documents to-morrow," which was, in fact, the case. The lawsuit was gained and an ex voto was placed in the chapel of the saint to commemorate the miracle, which happened in 1646.
62. An Ant Employed as Porter
St. Anthony is ever ready to help those who fully trust in him, even in the most trifling matters. Supposing you lose a key, only ask St Anthony and he will certainly find it for you. The following incident clearly proves the truth of this assertion: A lay Capuchin Brother had a rosary which, for the many indulgences attached to it, he greatly prized.
One day he accidentally broke the string on which the beads were strung, so that they were scattered all over the ground. He at once began to pick them up, but to his great vexation, one was missing, and not being able to find it he at once said a prayer to St. Anthony, which was no sooner finished than to his great astonishment he saw an ant coming with great difficulty towards him, carrying on her back the lost bead. Filled with gratitude, the good Brother wept for joy at the sight of the kindness of his dear saint.
63. Returned at Midnight
In 1664 a rich merchant from Augsburg sent his confidential servant on business to St. Andrew's market, at Botzen, and gave him at the same time two hundred and thirty guldens in coin and several thousands in paper money, which were carefully packed up in his travelling bag.
The servant being obliged to go to Trent on business, returned by way of Tramin. Worn out by his long journey, and finding it impossible to proceed any further until he had rested a little, he lay down near the roadside close to Tramin, and was soon fast asleep. On awaking, he found his bag had disappeared. He at once made use of every means he possibly could to discover the thief, but finding it useless, went to Kattern on the 23d of November, and on seeing the superior of the Franciscans, informed him of his loss, at the same time asking for three Masses and other prayers to be said in honor of St. Anthony, and returned again to Botzen, fully convinced that the money would be found. In the meantime, the antiphons in honor of St. Anthony were daily said by the choir Brothers, in order to obtain his assistance. On the 13th of December, whilst matins was being sung, a terrible noise was heard at the church door, which increased so much that the Brothers, greatly alarmed, went to see what was the matter. Suddenly all was silent, and, on their reaching the door, they found it forced open and inside a quantity of paper scattered over the floor, together with two bags of money, a pair of stockings and an old veil, all of which was the stolen property of the merchant, M. Morrell, who was then staying at Botzen. On his receiving the stolen things, he found only twenty-one gulden and thirty-eight kreuzers missing; out of gratitude he had an ex voto placed in the chapel, on which was a representation of the church door being forced open, and bags of money being thrown inside the church.
64. The Victorious Admiral
The very reverend Father Provincial Kuck, of the Franciscan province of Bavaria, heard, himself, the following incident related by Admiral Don Mondemar, during his visit to Spain, when convoked to the General Chapter, held at Murcia. The then reigning King of Spain, Philip IV., determined to send a fleet to recapture Oran from the Moors. Several attempts had already been made, all of which had failed, and the fortress was considered impregnable. In spite of everything the admiral could say, the king persisted in his determination, and, consequently, nothing remained but to obey. On reaching Alicant, Don Mondemar allowed his troops to disembark, and availed himself of this opportunity to visit the church of the Franciscans, dedicated to St. Anthony, where he placed the whole business in his hands. With this intention, after spending some time in prayer, he called upon the superior, begging of him to have the office of St. Anthony said. This being ended, he, in the presence of a great many people, asked the Father Superior's permission to have a ladder placed before the high altar, over which a life-size statue of the saint stood. This granted, he mounted the ladder and clothed the statue with all the insignia of a Spanish admiral in active service, and thus addressed the saint: "You, St. Anthony, must capture Oran, for I am unable to do so;" and laying his hand on the head of the statue, continued: "You are now the admiral, and I am only your humble servant and soldier, ready to obey your orders, for after God, I place my whole trust in you."
This ceremony concluded, he came down from the ladder and returned with his men to the fleet, where they embarked. As the squadron drew near Oran, all waited anxiously for the enemy to begin the attack. Seeing no notice was taken of them, the admiral ordered his men to fire. Again no response from the citadel. At a loss to understand what this meant, the command was given to land the troops, and, to the great astonishment of every one, the city gates were wide open. Thinking this was a stratagem of the enemy, they proceeded very cautiously through the empty streets, which, like the fortress, were completely deserted. Here an old Moor was discovered, concealed in his house, and was immediately brought before the admiral, who demanded an explanation of this extraordinary behavior on the part of the garrison and inhabitants. "As soon," replied the old man, "as the Christian squadron appeared in sight, a legion of soldiers was seen in the air, led by a Franciscan monk, wearing all the insignia of an admiral on duty, who threatened to destroy every one of us if we did not at once leave the city." Terrified beyond description at this unexpected apparition, both citizens and garrison had fled in the greatest disorder.
It was in this way that, thanks to the assistance of St. Anthony, Mondemar captured the city of Oran, without shedding a drop of blood. He at once sent a dispatch to the king, informing him of all that had taken place.
The statue, clothed with an admiral's insignia, is still to be seen at Alicant, but the miracle was only confirmed in Rome in 1770.
65. Saved from the Scaffold
A Franciscan Father, who lived at Naples in the monastery dedicated to St.Lawrence, relates the following incident which took place in that city.
One stormy night a young fisherman was sitting alone with his mother, in his little cottage close to the sea, when he heard, in the midst of the howling of the wind, some one in great distress calling for help. He immediately went out and found a man mortally wounded, lying close to his door. The murderer had fled, but the coastguard had also heard the cries for help, and seeing the young fisherman bending over the dead man, naturally concluded he was guilty, and, in spite of all his protestations, he was brought before the judge and accused of murder.
His guilt was, in fact, only too evident; he had been found bending over the corpse of a man, still warm. No one else could be found in the neighborhood, and there was only his mother who could prove his innocence, and what is a mother's evidence in such a case, even had she come in time?
But the poor creature was so stunned by grief on hearing the accusation against her only son, that she reached the court just before the sentence of death was pronounced on her child. On hearing which, the wretched mother, in spite of all the rebuffs she received from the judge, persisted in asking him to spare her child's life.
At last, weary of her importunities, and perhaps also in the hopes of getting rid of her, he informed her that if she could see the king, there was a small chance of a reprieve being obtained. Full of hope, the unhappy parent at once started upon her mission, but what appeared so easy was truly beset with difficulties. On reaching the palace she was told she must have a petition presented to the king, and who was to write that petition? When she at last succeeded in getting it done, it was far too late for her to obtain an audience of the king. Broken hearted, she left the palace, and, as she was passing by the Church of St. Lawrence, she entered, and kneeling before the railings which separated St. Anthony's chapel from the rest of the church, she implored the saint's intercession in behalf of her unfortunate son. She would have remained there longer, had not the sacristan told her he must shut up the church, and then, in her despair, she threw her petition on his altar, crying out: "St. Anthony, St. Anthony, you must save my child." She then returned home, consoled and comforted, convinced that the saint would assist her.
It was ten o clock in the evening, and the king, having some important work to do, had dismissed his attend- ants, when suddenly he heard a knock at his door and a young Franciscan monk entered. There was something so modest and prepossessing in his appearance that the king was perfectly fascinated, and received him most courteously.
"Pardon me, sire," said the priest, "for disturbing you at so late an hour, but my errand is urgent and brooks of no delay, since the life of a fellow creature depends on it."
"Speak, Brother, how can I help you?"
"Your majesty has to-day signed a sentence of death on a young fisherman found near the corpse of a murdered man. Although appearances are against him, I declare to you he is innocent."
"When the law has pronounced judgment," answered the king, "it is not for me to change it or to presume that the sentence is unjust."
"I can swear to the innocence of my protege," responded the monk. "All I entreat your majesty to do is to write the word reprieved under this petition."
The Franciscan Father uttered these words in so determined a manner, that the king, in spite of himself, took up his pen, then paused, and said : "Where do you come from?"
"From the Franciscan monastery, which bears the name of St. Lawrence."
"Even if I grant the reprieve, the young man will have been executed before it can reach the prison."
"I am well aware the time is short, but do what I ask you," replied the Franciscan, firmly, pointing to the petition. To this the king, in spite of himself, acceded. The petition was signed and, after thanking his majesty, the monk disappeared. The king felt strangely impressed by this visit, and, after remaining a few minutes absorbed in thought, said to himself: "How could this man have come here at this time of night?" And sending for one of his chamberlains, he asked who had introduced the monk into the palace? But neither the chamberlains nor any one else had seen the monk enter, and how he had done so remained a perfect mystery. The king, finding it was impossible to discover who the Father was, determined to make inquiries at the convent of St. Lawrence.
The following afternoon the king, anxious to unravel the mystery of the preceding night, went to the Franciscan monastery of St. Lawrence and, summoning all the community together, asked the superior whom he had sent the night before to the palace. To his astonishment the superior informed him he was not aware of any one being out of the monastery the preceding night. After carefully examining the faces of the monks and not finding the one he wanted, his majesty ordered the mother of the boy to be sent for, in order to question her as to the person to whom she had given the petition, and to while away the time inspected the monastery and then went to visit the church. After examining the different altars the king paused before the picture of St. Anthony and exclaimed, pointing it out to the superior :
"Ah! here is the priest who came to see me last night."
"Pardon me, sire, that Father is not under my jurisdiction," replied the superior.
It may be interesting for some to know how St. Anthony finished saving the young fisherman. The day after he was condemned to death was the one appointed for his execution, and early that same morning the public prosecutor, on awaking, found lying on the table near his bedside a paper containing the free pardon of the condemned, signed by the king and dated the night before. Thinking his servant had forgotten to give it to him the preceding evening, he hastily dressed himself and not daring to trust it to any one, for fear of it not reaching the prison authorities in time, took it himself to the jail. The surprise of the poor youth on seeing the royal official enter his cell, bringing with him not only the reprieve, but also the order for him to return to his mother, can be very easily imagined.
This occurrence soon spread all over Naples, and St. Anthony of Padua was chosen to be one of the patron saints of the city.
66. A Choir Master without Employment
For some time a choir master had vainly sought employment in Rome and Naples in order to procure the bare necessaries of life for his little family. On the 13th of June they were on the verge of starvation, and the poor man, in order to obtain the assistance of St. Anthony, approached the holy Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar, and heard several Masses in his honor. On leaving the church a stranger came up to him, and placed sufficient money in his hands to satisfy his most pressing necessities.
But the good saint's favors did not cease here. When he came home, his wife, with a beaming countenance, told him how an unknown benefactor had sent his servant with enough food to last them several weeks; and that very day a letter came from Spoleto offering him the post of music director in the choir of the cathedral, which was, of course, accepted. The grateful family never afterwards omitted reciting the antiphons in honor of the saint. The last line, Dicant Paduani, is an everlasting testimony of the wonderful manner in which St. Anthony still watches over Padua. For six hundred years he has justly been considered its patron and protector.
In every direction churches have been built, altars erected, and pious and charitable institutions founded in his honor. The citizens are almost daily eye witnesses of the marvellous power God has bestowed on His faithful servant. Thousands of pilgrims, from every part of the world, are constantly flocking to his shrine, either to thank him for past blessings or implore his aid. His altar is so covered with ex votos that it has been found necessary toto set a room aside to receive the treasures which his grateful clients are constantly sending to his shrine.
67. A Costly Ex Voto
The Franciscan architect, Father Valentine, a native of Worms, who built the magnificent church dedicated to St. Anthony, at Padua, related the following incident, which took place in the year 1871:
A Portuguese prince had long been wishing for a son to inherit his vast possessions. At last, after promising a present of a silver statue of the holy Child to the above-mentioned church, a son was born. Filled with gratitude, he ordered a statue of solid silver to be cast of the same weight as the infant prince. Fearing, on account of the persecution of religious houses in Italy, it might not fall into the right hands, he forwarded it to Rome, by a special escort, where it was delivered over to Pope Pius IX. His Holiness immediately sent for Father Valentine, ordering him to place it in the newly erected church of St. Anthony, at Padua, where it is still to be seen.
Few among the rich or learned of this age of incredulity and unbelief, in the pride of their hearts, place any faith in miracles. Let us not allow ourselves to be ranked among their number, but rather, like those believers in the Gospel, thank God He has given such power to men, and more especially to His faithful servant, St. Anthony.
68. The Franciscan Church of St. Anthony in the Tyrol
It has been the design of God to glorify His faithful servant, St. Anthony, by spreading his devotion, not only in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, but throughout the whole Catholic world. It is not here my intention to mention the names of the principal places where this great saint is honored, but simply to give an account of the origin of the pilgrimage to the Church of St. Anthony at Kattern in the Tyrol.
In 1638, the ruined castle of Rottenburg and grounds adjoining it were conceded to the Franciscan Fathers of the Tyrolese reformed Province, for the purpose of building a monastery, which, to the great joy of the inhabitants of the neighboring country, was completed in 1643. The picture for the altar dedicated to St.Anthony of Padua, was destined by divine Providence, on account of the many favors, spiritual and temporal, which the devout clients of the saint were to receive at this favored spot, to be the means of making the monastery known far and wide.
A nobleman, Christopher Ulrich von Bach, was to be the instrument chosen by God to procure this miraculous picture. He had in 1638, thanks to the protection of the saint, escaped a most dangerous plot laid by his enemies.
Filled with gratitude, he determined, at his own cost, to erect in the church of Kattern an altar dedicated to St. Anthony. It was found, after the altar had been set in its proper place, that a picture of the saint was wanting. God, desirous of spreading the devotion to His faithful servant, sent an unknown painter to Herr von Bach, who had just gone on a pilgrimage to Padua, to ask permission to paint a picture for him. The nobleman, being a stranger in the city, and a lover of art, gladly consented and, inspired by God, ordered a painting of St. Anthony. A few days afterwards, the artist returned, bringing with him a life-sized picture, representing the saint with two angels above his head. In his right hand, he holds a lily, the symbol of his virginal purity, and in his left book, on which the holy Child is standing. St.Anthony has a gentle but serious expression on his countenance, and is clothed in the habit of the reformed Tyrolese Province. Under his feet the spire of the church is seen.
The nobleman, finding he had not enough money in his purse to pay the painter, left the room to get some more. To his great astonishment, on his return, the painter had disappeared, and, in spite of every inquiry, was nowhere to be found. This circumstance has led many to believe that the picture is the work of an angel, and they are probably right in their conjecture, for it has never been found possible to make a correct copy of it. For two hundred years St. Anthony worked so many miracles at the church at Kattern that it was impossible to inscribe them on the registers, and the walls of his chapel were so covered with ex votos from the grateful clients of the saint that the old ones had to make room for the new. It was a common saying: "If St. Anthony will not hear you at Padua, go to Kattern; he is sure to hear you there."