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Finding St. Anthony: His Art and Miracles View Comments
By Marion Amberg

Santeros Roberto Gonzales and Ernesto Salazar fashioned this bulto (statue) of St. Anthony preaching to the fish.

ST. ANTHONY, please help me find my keys.” “St. Anthony, I lost my job and need to find a new one.” In some regions of the country where St. Anthony is revered as a celestial matchmaker, single women pray, “Oh, lovely St. Anthony, find me a lovely husband.” And if you’re a writer, you might beg the Franciscan saint to help you find the right words!

What reader hasn’t asked St. Anthony of Padua—patron of lost items and many other causes—for help in finding something? But how many of us ever go looking for St. Anthony? If we did, we’d find the friar’s likeness chiseled in stone, painted on murals, carved in wood and etched in stained glass.

He’s seen embracing the Christ Child, preaching to fish or holding a white lily, a symbol of purity. “Tony” even guards the poor box at the Jesuit-run Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. The poor box often benefits from the good fortune of bettors at a nearby racetrack.

What do all these artistic renditions have in common? They depict the amazing faith story and intercessory powers of this irresistible and universally loved saint. Come, St. Anthony is waiting to be found—in some very inspiring and miraculous artwork!

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Writing from New Mexico, Marion Amberg researched and composed this story with a statue of St. Anthony—carved from a table leg—at her side.

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Angela Merici: Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women. 
<p>As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood. </p><p>She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals. </p><p>She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost. </p><p>At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.</p> American Catholic Blog I hear far more people discuss the presence of evil in their lives than they do the supreme power of grace. God is bigger than evil!

 
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