Saint Anthony (1195-1231) is Portuguese by nationality and a native of Lisbon, although he is better known as Saint Anthony of Padua, where he made his last home.
St Anthony was born in Lisbon, on the site of this church
The Cathedral of Lisbon
Two years later he was transferred to the priory of Coimbra. There he devoted himself to prayer and study, acquiring an extraordinary knowledge of the Bible.
He was still living in Coimbra eight years later when he heard of the death of the five Franciscan martyrs: St. Bernard, St. Peter, St. Otho, St. Accursius, and St. Adjutus, who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the year 1220, in Morocco, North Africa.
St Anthony joined the Franciscan Order when he was 26 years old. He was permitted to embark for Morocco with the intention of preaching the Gospel there, but an incident happened: he became very sick and needed to return to Europe. The vessel in which he sailed drove off its course and he found himself in Italy. In Forli he was told to deliver an address. People who heard it were amazed by its eloquence, spirit, persuasiveness, and the learning it displayed. As a consequence he was appointed lector in theology to his Order- the first member to fill such a post. He settled in Padua, Italy after 1226.
He attracted huge crowds everywhere he preached. St. Anthony died at the age of 36. He was canonized (declared a saint) less than one year after his death. In 1946, Pope Pius XII made him a doctor of the Church.
He is typically depicted with Baby Jesus, a book, a lily and bread
His feast day is June 13.
The celebrations won´t be complete without “a manjerico” (a basil pot decorated with a carnation and popular verses).
Saint Anthony is revered as a matchmaker and the patron saint of marriage. Therefore the municipality organizes free wedding services to groups of young couples.
The city of Lisbon celebrates him with a parade held on Liberdade Avenue. Groups of marchers, each one representing an old Lisbon district come down the avenue, dancing to the sound of popular tunes especially written for the occasion, and competing for the Best Marcher’s Group of the Year.
Manjericos evoke the legend associated to Saint Anthony of growing a carnation flower in a basil pot.
Barros, Jorge e Soledade Costa. Festas e Tradições Portuguesas. Círculo de Leitores, 2002
Saint Benedict Center. The Communion of Saints. MA, 1967
Butler´s Lives of the Saints. Harper Collins, 1991