Anthony’s retirement as provincial minister lasted less than a year. He spent most of that time writing sermon notes for the feasts of major saints. He had already written sermon notes for Sundays, holy days of obligation, and feasts of Mary. In those years the same Scripture readings were used every year, for example, on the First Sunday of Advent.
Anthony’s last sermon notes were for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Anthony had retired to the village of Camposampiero; a friend had constructed a hermitage for him in a walnut tree.
When he knew that his health was seriously declining, he asked to be taken back to Padua. In fact, he died along the way at the Poor Clare monastery in Arcella. The local people understandably wanted him buried there. The friars, however, managed to bring his body back to Padua where construction of the present basilica began immediately.
Father Luke Belludi, Anthony’s companion on his last preaching journeys, lived for another 30 years and served as a living link to the man who was formally canonized within 12 months of his death—a record that still stands.
Am I willing to be mentored? To mentor someone?
In Anthony’s Own Words
“No one is closer to us than he who healed our wounds. For the Head is one with his members. Let us therefore love him as our Lord and God.”
Did You Know?
Anthony knew he needed a break and more time dedicated to God alone. Perhaps he also sensed that his short life was nearing its end. He was about 36 years old at the time. He withdrew from the city of Padua to the town of Camposampiero, some 30 miles north of Padua. There a nobleman, Count Tiso, had earlier built a hermitage for friars seeking more time for contemplative prayer. With Tiso’s help, Anthony had a solitary hut—something like a small tree house—built in the branches of a large walnut tree in a thick forest, not far from the Franciscan hermitage.
The saint spent much of the last weeks and months of his life in that small tree house, praying and working on sermon notes to assist other preachers of the Word.
—Jack Wintz, OFM, Saint Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends, and Devotions
Lord Jesus, Scripture tells us
that you were like us in
every way—except sin.
We know, however, that you
did not live long enough to
enjoy a time of retirement.
Lead us to appreciate every
season of life, always able to
see your loving providence
at work—even if it may seem at
times to be hiding.