Fernando Martins de Bulhões, venerated as Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, (c. 1195– 13 June 1231) is a Portuguese Catholic saint who was born in Lisbon, Portugal where he lived most of his life, to a wealthy family and who died in Padua, Italy. After his ordination, Anthony was placed in charge of hospitality in his abbey. In this role, in 1219, he came in contact with five Franciscans who were on their way to Morocco to preach to the Muslims there. Anthony was strongly attracted to the simple Gospel lifestyle of the Franciscan friars. In February 1220, news arrived that the five Franciscans had been martyred in Morocco. Anthony meditated on the heroism of these Franciscans. He wanted to obey God’s call to leave everything and follow Him. Anthony obtained permission from his Augustinian superiors to join the Franciscan Order.
On the return trip to Portugal, his ship was driven by storm upon the coast of Sicily and he landed at Messina. From Sicily he made his way to Assisi and sought admission into a monastery in Italy, but met with difficulty on account of his sickly appearance. He was finally assigned, out of pure compassion, to the rural hospice of San Paolo near Forlì, Romagna, Italy, a choice made after considering his poor health. There he appears to have lived as a hermit and was put to work in the kitchen.
One day, on the occasion of an ordination, a great many visiting Dominican friars were present, there was some misunderstanding over who should preach. The Franciscans naturally expected that one of the Dominicans would occupy the pulpit, for they were renowned for their preaching; the Dominicans, on the other hand, had come unprepared, thinking that a Franciscan would be the homilist.
In this quandary, the head of the hermitage, who had no one among his own humble friars suitable for the occasion, called upon Anthony, who he suspected was most qualified, and engineered him to speak whatever the Holy Spirit should put into his mouth. Anthony objected but was overruled, and his sermon created a deep impression. Not only his rich voice and arresting manner, but the entire theme and substance of his discourse and his moving eloquence, held the attention of his hearers. Anthony became ill with dropsy and, in 1231, went to the woodland retreat at Camposampiero with two other friars for a respite. There Anthony lived in a cell built for him under the branches of a walnut tree. Saint Anthony died on the way back to Padua on 13 June 1231 at the Poor Clare convent at Arcella, aged 36. He lived only ten years after joining the Franciscan Order.
When he died, it is said that the children cried in the streets and that all the bells of the churches rang of their own accord, rung by angels come to earth to honour the death of the saint. He is buried in a chapel, and to this day his tongue is in a reliquary, and is incorrupt although he is not an incorruptible. Anthony of Lisbon (or Padua) is known to have become the “quickest” saint in the history of the Catholic Church because he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than one year after his death on the 30th of May of 1232. His fame spread as much as the Portuguese envangelization and he has been known as the most celebrated of the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the patron saint of Padua, of Italy and of many other places in Portugal and in the countries of the former Portuguese Empire. He is especially invoked for the recovery of lost thingsProclaimed a Doctor of the Church on January 16, 1946, he is sometimes called “Evangelical Doctor”.There is perhaps no more loved and admired saint in the Catholic Church than Saint Anthony of Padua, He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, to whom He miraculously appeared, and is commonly referred to today as the “finder of lost articles.” Upon exhumation, some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, When St. Anthony of Padua found he was preaching the true Gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes