Saint Anthony's Miracles

Saint Anthony's Miracles. Sermon to the Fishes

The story goes that one day Anthony went to Rimini where there were a lot of heretics. He started to preach, but they did not want to listen to him, and they even mocked him. In a dramatic gesture, Anthony went to the seashore, saying, “Because you show yourself unworthy of God’s word, behold, I turn to the fishes so that your unbelief may be shown up more clearly”. As he spoke of God’s care for those creatures that live in the waters, a shoal of fish swam near to the bank, partly thrusting themselves out of the water and appearing to listen carefully. At the end of his sermon, the Saint blessed them and they swam away. In the meantime, so deep was the impression made upon the onlookers that many hurried back to the city imploring their friends to come and see the miracle, while others burst into tears asking forgiveness. Soon after a great multitude gathered around the Saint, who exhorted them to turn back to God. So through this sermon, the city of Rimini was purged of heresy.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. Aleardino’s Glass

During the Renaissance, artists drew inspiration from the remains of Greco-Roman antiquity, and this is why all the characters of the scene are dressed as ancient Romans. One day a knight called Aleardino da Salvaterra arrived in Padua. This knight had always despised Catholics, believing them to be ignorant and gullible. One day, while dining, his tablemates started telling him with great enthusiasm of the many miracles performed by St Anthony. As a reaction, Aleardino emptied his glass and said, “If he whom you consider to be a saint will prevent this glass from breaking when it hits the ground I will believe everything you are telling me about him.” He then threw the glass to the floor with all his strength, and quite unbelievably, the glass did not break. It is even said that the hard tiles on which it fell broke instead of the glass. Faced by this inexplicable phenomenon, Aleardino believed and was converted.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. The Heretic’s Mule

The city of Toulouse was a centre of the Cather heresy, which denied the goodness of the material world and also the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Anthony engaged in several public debates with them but, although they could not out-argue him, they were not yet ready to give in. One day one of them demanded a miraculous proof, “If you can make my mule bow down before what you call the Body of Christ, I will believe”. Anthony didn’t want to put God to the test, but naturally there was no way he could avoid this challenge, and so he agreed, leaving the outcome to God. For three days the heretic kept his mule penned up without food. On the third day, a great crowd gathered in the city square. Anthony celebrated Mass in a little chapel and at the end he came out carrying the Blessed Sacrament. Meanwhile, the hungry mule had also been brought along, and a suitable fodder was placed in front of the starved animal. Anthony called out, “Mule! Come here and show reverence to your Creator!” At once the animal came towards Anthony and bowed its head and knees before the Sacrament. The owner of the mule and many heretics were reconciled to the Church.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. The Re-attached Foot

A young man of Padua, called Leonardo, went to St Anthony to make his confession. Among his other sins, he confessed that he had once kicked his mother so hard that she had suffered a nasty fall. Anthony muttered under his breath, “The foot that strikes father or mother deserved to be cut off.” Of course he did not intend his words to be taken literally. The young man, not understanding the meaning of his words, returned home, took a hatchet and chopped off his foot. The news soon reached the ears of the poor Anthony. He followed the youth’s grieving parents to their house and made his way to the young man’s bedroom. He prayed, holding the severed foot close to the leg, made the sign of the cross, and instantly the foot became attached to the leg. The young man jumped up, giving praise to the Lord and thanksgiving to Anthony, who had healed his leg in this truly miraculous way.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. The Drowned Child

We are in Lisbon, Portugal. A boy called Parrisio decides to go on a boat trip with other boys, but without telling his parents. Suddenly, a violent storm breaks out and the boat capsizes. While the other boys, who were older and knew how to swim, managed to save themselves, Parrisio drowned. Upon hearing this tragedy, the boy’s mother ran to the beach and pleaded with the sailors to recuperate the body. They lowered their nets and soon were able to draw out Parrisio’s lifeless body, which they gave to the desperate mother. On the next day the family wanted to take the body to church for the funeral and subsequent burial, but the mother did not allow this. She continued to pray to St. Anthony, promising that if her child were brought back to life she would consecrate him to the Franciscan Order. On the third day, in front of his parents and relatives, the boy suddenly awoke as though from a deep sleep; the mother’s prayers to the Lord, through the intercession of St. Anthony, had been answered. When he became older Parrisio entered the Franciscan Order, and always joyfully told his fellow friars of the wonder God had performed for him through the intercession of St. Anthony.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. Tommy & St. Anthony’s Bread

Tommy was a 20-month- old boy who lived with his parents near the Basilica. His mother had left him playing in the kitchen, where there was a large pot on the fire with boiling water in it. The little boy took a stool and started to peep into pot. He saw his own reflection and wanted to touch it, but in doing so he fell into the boiling water. Immediately afterward, the mother was back, and when she saw Tommy’s feet sticking up out of the pot, she run to pull him out, but the boy was already dead.

The poor mother’s screams roused the whole neighbourhood, and soon a crowd had gathered at the house, including some friars from the Basilica. Seeing the friars, the woman was reminded of the wonderful miracles done by St. Anthony, and began to pray loudly for his help, promising to donate her child’s weight in bread to the poor if he were restored to life. While the mother was still praying, Tommy arose as if from a deep sleep.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. Eurilia Comes Back to Life

A young girl in Padua called Eurilia had followed her mother in one of her visits to an old lady. Eurilia however, stayed outside to gather sticks and twigs for the fire. After a while, at the end of her visit, the mother came out and found her daughter floating on a muddy pond, face up. Somehow Eurilia had slipped into the water and drowned. The poor woman waded in and dragged the body up on to the road, but the young girl seemed lifeless. The poor mother started to cry and a small crowd gathered around her. One of the men present saw that the girl was cold and rigid, and said that she was dead. At this point in her anguish the mother begged the Saint to pray to Christ to save her daughter, “Oh please, St. Anthony, give me back my daughter.” Shortly after this simple prayer everyone could see that Eurilia's lips began to twitch, and then she started to throw out the water she had swallowed. And so, after a short while, through the merits of St. Anthony, Eurilia grew warm again and came back to life.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. A Dead Man Speaks

In Lisbon, the city where St. Anthony was born, there were two people who hated each other to death. One evening the son of one of them met the son from the rival family, which was living close to St. Anthony’s parents. Filled with hatred, and seeing that no one else was around, he stabbed the other young man to death.

He then buried the corpse in the garden of Anthony’s father. Martin, Anthony’s father, tried to prove his innocence, but the grisly evidence found in the family garden was enough to convict the poor man of the murder.

Just when things were at their worst, God revealed to Anthony, who was in Padua, the plight of his father. Immediately, the Saint obtained permission to go away for a night. The distance from Padua to Lisbon is approximately 1,200 miles, but Anthony was there in a couple of hours through divine intervention. In the court room the Saint asked that the body of the murdered man be produced immediately. Anthony approached the corpse and, in a firm voice, asked the man to tell who had killed him. To the amazement of all, the corpse sat up and clearly said the name of the murderer and attested the innocence of Anthony's father, who was freed at once. The revived man then turned to Anthony and asked absolution from his sins, then he died again. Miraculously, the next day the Saint was back in Padua. After all, he had asked permission to be away only over night.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. The miser's heart

According to the story, the funeral of a rich man was being celebrated with great pomp in a city in Tuscany. Anthony was present, and is said to have commented that the dead man did not deserve such honour since he had exploited and oppressed the poor. “His heart is in his money-box”, said the Saint, echoing our Lord’s words that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be too”.

So far, so good; but the story goes on to say that, following Anthony’s words, a surgeon was called in, who cut open the dead body and found no heart! A little later, when the family opened the dead man’s treasure chest, there was the heart! As a result, the dead man was not buried in the splendid mausoleum that he had prepared for himself, but in a cave by the river. In the center of the fresco you can see the surgeon opening the body of the miser, and on the left a relative of the rich man who has just found his heart in the money-box.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. A violent husband

This miracle took place in a city in Tuscany. There was a knight in the area who was outstanding for his nobility and his wealth, but he easily gave way to outbursts of anger. One day, his wife, a virtuous lady, probably replied to him harshly, and he was overcome with rage. He beat her, raining punches and kicks upon her; he dragged her by her hair all throughout the house; eventually he stabbed her, leaving her at the point of death.

Servants and family members picked the woman up and gently laid her down on her bed.

In the meantime, the knight began to regret his beastly behaviour, and ran to St. Anthony, who was living in the city in that period. The man fervently begged St. Anthony to come and help his poor wife. The saint hurried to the house together with the husband; he knelt down, asking God to give the dying woman life and health. When Anthony prayed over her, she rose up completely well again.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. The Speaking Infant

A nobleman was very jealous of his wife. He had no reason to doubt of her love and fidelity, but he was easy prey to slander, and so, when his wife had their first child, he refused to recognize the baby as his own. He was more than sure that the child was the fruit of his wife’s infidelity.

No matter how much the woman tried to assure him that she had not been with another man, he continued to reject his infant son.

In her desperation the wife and mother came to St. Anthony for help. The Saint talked to the nobleman for hours, and finally succeeded in making him see the absurdity behind his jealousy. Just then a nurse brought in the infant. Instantly, his old state of mind returned. At this point Anthony turned to the child and said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, speak and tell who your father is!" The infant pointed to the nobleman and, in a voice of a child years older, he said, "There is my father!" With that the father broke down in tears and took the child in his arms.  This is how Anthony saved a family and a marriage from the pitfalls of gossip and slander.

Saint Anthony's Miracles. The Liberation of Padua

A few years after St. Anthony’s death, Ezzelino extended his dominion by brute force to all of the main cities in the Veneto Region: Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, Feltre, Belluno and Padua.

In 1254, four years after the death of Emperor Frederick II, Ezzelino was excommunicated by Pope Innocent IV, who also launched a crusade against him. Padua was therefore besieged by the Pope's forces, which wanted to free the city of Ezzelino's tyranny. The Blessed Luke asked for St. Anthony's help so that the pope's army may be successful. Naturally, it's not only Blessed Luke who was praying, but with him were praying the citizens of Padua who were still in bondage within the city's walls.

St. Anthony appeared to two Franciscan friars (one of them is probably the Blessed Luke Belludi), and foretold them about the imminent liberation of Padua from Ezzelino's tyranny. And this is what actually occurred in 1256 when Ezzelino’s troops were driven out from Padua. The citizens of the city were finally free; their prayers had been answered through the intercession of St. Anthony.