Saint Anthony of Padua is one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church. Born Fernando Martins de Bulhoes, he is the most celebrated of the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Catholic religion attributes this to his compelling preaching and adept knowledge of scripture.
Saint Anthony was born in 1195, in Lisbon, Portugal. He was a powerful Franciscan preacher and teacher. He entered the Congregation of Canons Regular of Saint Augustine at the age of 15 and devoted himself to scripture study and the practice of piety. His parents belonged to one of the prominent families in the city.
The Catholic Church ordained Saint Anthony as a Doctor of the Church in 1946. He had concern for the needs of others and gave up his wealth and lifestyle to become a poor Franciscan monk. He is the patron saint of lost articles, amputees, cemetery workers and the poor. In France, Italy and Spain, he is also the patron saint of fishermen and sailors.
Saint Anthony died on June 13, 1231, due to natural causes. His memorial or feast day is celebrated on June 30 every year. Artists and sculptors portray him holding the child Jesus, a lily, a book or all these three in his arms.