Happy St Anthony’s feast day. Below are some items that I would like to share with you.
Greetings and prayers for all your intentions,
St Anthony’s Bread
True son of St Francis that he was St Anthony had a great love for the poor and even now he still continues to help them by encouraging the devotion known as St Anthony’s bread. This is a very old devotion too and it had its origin in Padua as the result of another miracle.
A little child whose parents lived near the Basilica, which was then being built fell into a vessel of water and drowned. The poor mother was heart broken but great as was her grief she had a greater confidence in the power of St Anthony. She begged him to help and give her back her babe promising that if her prayers were heard she would give the child’s weight in grain to the poor. Towards midnight while the bereaved mother was still praying the child rose up as if from sleep. After this miracle the practice developed of promising alms to the poor in return for favours received through the intercession of the saint. Today this practice is widespread and in most of our churches boxes are provided to receive alms for the poor from those who have been assisted by this great friend of the poor.
Great impetus was given to this devotion by a simple incident that occurred towards the end of the last century. A pious French girl Louise Bouffier who owned a small linen store in Toulon, found difficulty, one morning, in opening the door of her shop. After repeated efforts she sent for a locksmith, whose assortment of keys proved useless. Deciding that the lock must be forced, the man departed to get tools for the purpose. While he was away, Louise prayed earnestly to St. Anthony, promising him bread for his poor if the door was opened without injury to the lock. When the locksmith returned she asked him to try his keys once more, telling him of her promise to the Saint. The man did as she asked, and with the first key he tried, opened the door without any difficulty.
This incident greatly strengthened Louise Bouffier’s confidence in St. Anthony. She increased her devotion to him, always promising bread to the poor. Her friends followed her example with the result that, in a short time the rear of her store became a centre for St. Anthony’s Bread in Toulon. People of all ranks and conditions came there to pray before the statue of St. Anthony which had been erected.
Alms of bread arrived in great quantities, until the task of distributing it became too difficult. Then it was decided to accept money offerings for the poor, who were thereby enabled to purchase not only food, but clothing and other necessities. The thank-offerings also took the form of alms for the education of poor boys for the Priesthood
The big bike ride (Saint Anthony the Wonder Worker)
Some years ago a big bike ride was organised. The ride was from North Sydney to Parramatta, a distance of many miles. My husband and my daughter were among the participants. I caught the train to Parramatta with my youngest daughter in order to meet up with them at the end of the bike ride. It was a very hot day. Many thousands of bike riders entered the park at the end of the ride. My little daughter became anxious because of the long wait for them to arrive. There was no sign of them. We waited for a considerable amount of time. Finally I said the prayer that is known as the Miraculous Responsory of Saint Anthony. We walked down the hill to the bottom of the park. I watched an endless stream of bike riders entering the park. However I still did not see my daughter and husband. Finally I decided to ask one of the bike riders if there were still more bike riders to come. He addressed me by my Christian name and told me that there was nothing to worry about; because he had seen my daughter and husband enter the park about half an hour ago. He said that they were now at the other end of the park. I was astounded and wondered how this man knew who I was. He was not recognisable to me because of his helmet and beard. It turned out that he was my cousin, who I had not seen for about ten years.
The wedding ring at the beach (Saint Anthony the Wonder Worker)
When Stephen was at the beach his wedding ring fell off his finger and was washed away by a wave. He called upon Saint Anthony and another wave came in and deposited the ring at his feet.