St. Antony's Shrine Koratty
St. Antony of Padua was born on 15 August 1195 in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.The saint's parents were Martin and Teresa. The baby was given the name Fernando(baptismal name) on the occasion of Baptism. Teresa a strong believer dedicated her son to Virgin Mary. Fernando was so pious and loving and he was loved by everyone.
At age seven, his parents sent him to a nearby cathedral school. There he received Christian education and training.Fernando, who entered adulthood, wanted to stay away from worldly pleasures. At the age of 15, he became a member of St. Augustine's congregation. Sooner he left the Augustinian monastery at Lisbon and moved to Coimbra. His holiness and purity were praised by everyone there.
The holy bodies of five Franciscan martyrs were brought to Coimbra from Morocco by Franciscan missionaries. When he saw the remains of these saints, he was eager to die as a martyr. In July, 1220, he joined the Franciscan order and took the name Antony.
Four months later, Antony left for Morocco. However, soon after arriving in Morocco, he fell sick and had to return shortly thereafter. At that time there was a public gathering of the Franciscan congregation in Assisi. It was there that St. Antony met St. Francis of Assisi. The meeting between the two holy spirits was heart-warming. Later Antony was sent to a small monastery in Monterey Pavolo in Forli, Tuscany. There,recognizing the wisdom and purity of Antony, the superiors appointed him to preach the gospel. Thus,he has preached the gospel in the Arles of France, the Montpellier, the Burgesses, and in the cities of Verchely, Rimini and Padua in Italy. His words had a divine charm. Believers flocked even from faraway places to hear him.
During his lifetime, St. Antony has performed many miracles. He is also known as the miracle worker. He was able to speak in different languages and to be present in two places at a time. Many miracles have been performed, such as healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, and addressing the fish of the sea.
Padua was the main venue of St. Antony’s missionary work. Hence the saintalways wished to die at Padua. With that wish, he returned to Padua but on his waywhen reached a place named Arcella, the disease (ergotism) progressed and he was taken to a hospital nearby. Soon thereafter, on June 13, 1231 St. Antony was called to the heavenly abode from this world.He was only 35-years-old when he died.Onthat very day of his burial many miracles were performed.
On the 30th of May, 1232, the Holy Father, Gregory IX, added Antony to the Order of the Sainthood (Canonization). In 1946, Pope Pius XII declared the saint as the doctor of the church.
The Novena day of St. Antony is on TUESDAY. According to his life history Tuesday was the day St. Antony was buried and the miracles at his tomb began. The beginning of novena is linked to a story of a childless couple. After many years of longing for a child, the wife took her troubles to St. Antony. He is said to have appeared to her in a dream, telling her, “continuously for NINE TUESDAYS, make visits to the Franciscan chapel and approach the holy sacraments of penance and the altar, then pray, and what you ask, you shall obtain.” The couple prayed as said to them in the dream and the couple soon had a child. Later in 1898 Pope Leo XIII encouraged the devotion by granting a plenary indulgence to those spending time in devout prayer in honour of St. Antony with the intention of doing so for consecutive Tuesdays.
The patronage of St. Antony is known as the finder of Lost things. The reason for invoking St. Anthony’s help in finding lost or stolen items can be traced back to an incident in saint’s own life. St. Antony had a favourite book of psalms that was very valuable to him. As this was before the invention of printing, the book was a hand-printed book – but of even more value were his personal notes and the comments he had made in the Psalter to assist with teaching students in the Franciscan order. It was suspected that a novice leaving the community had stolen the Psalter. Antony prayed for the return of his beloved possession. Shortly after, the novice returned the book and sought Antony’s forgiveness.