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A History of St. Anthony of Padua Church
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Arthur P. Motta, Jr.
Saint Anthony High School Class of 1975
LIFE OF ST. ANTHONY of PADUA (1195-1231)
A Portuguese saint, Anthony was born in Lisbon in 1195 (though carbon-dating performed on his bones in 1982 suggest a different birth year). His father was a Captain in the Portuguese Royal Army. Anthony joined the Franciscan Order in 1221 and was asked by St. Francis to instruct the Order in the study of the scriptures. Anthony died in 1231. Pope Gregory IX enrolled him among the saints in 1232. At Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honor; his holy relics were entombed there in 1263. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony's intercession, so that he is known as the Wonder-Worker. On January 16, 1946, Pope Pius XII, declared St. Anthony a Doctor of the Church, with the title, Doctor Evangelicus, Doctor of Gospels. Within the entire Community of Saints, only 33 have been declared Doctors of the Church for their exemplary scholasticism and their Christ-like lives. Anthony is typically depicted holding a book of the Gospels and cradling the Christ Child. Anthony died in Italy, but is still very much a Portuguese saint. He is patron saint of Lisbon and of preachers of the gospels. His intercession is often sought as the saint of lost causes and lost articles. Founded in 1895, the parish of St. Anthony of Padua, located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, was so named because 1895 was the 700th anniversary of the birth of this remarkable saint.