One friar to another: Thank You, Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony of Padua lived a remarkable life as a Franciscan friar, but his ministry happened completely by accident. In this video, Br. Clifford Hennings OFM pays homage to this famous Franciscan and discusses his ongoing influence on Catholics the world over.

One of my favorite saints is Saint Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan saint. One of the things that I liked about him is that his whole ministry was an accident. I mean, here he was, a guy who wanted to go and be martyred, and he was on a trip, and he went to North Africa, and on the way he got sick, so sick that they put him on a boat and said, You’re going back to Portugal.

While he’s on his way back to Portugal, a major storm comes in and blows it completely off course. And rather than landing in Portugal, he crash-lands in Southern Italy. And so now he finds himself in a country where he doesn’t know the people, it’s not his native tongue, and what does he do? He just begins to trust in God and to wander around.

Eventually he finds some other Franciscans, settles as a hermit, and starts to live a quiet life in a place that he never thought he would be. Until one day through a miscommunication, the Dominicans and the Franciscans were getting together and the Dominicans thought that the Franciscans had the preacher, and the Franciscans thought that the Dominicans have the preacher. Nobody had a homily prepared. And somebody had the idea to say, you know what, Anthony, Anthony can do it.

He preached with such fire and such eloquence that everybody was moved to tears. And from that moment on he became the world’s most famous preacher of the day, bringing forth tens of thousands of people traveling throughout Europe. And it all began because of an accident.

I think that his example shows us that if we trust in God and we believe that he’s with us always, sometimes even when we seem to be steered off course, we are ultimately walking in the footprints of Christ.