Franciscan Spirit Blog

Saint Anthony Novena Day One: Man of Many Talents

In almost 11 years as a Friar Minor, Anthony had six very different ministries in three countries. Today we might ask, “Why couldn’t he keep a job?” The answer is very simple: His talents were so broad and well developed that he excelled at each of the ministries to which he was assigned.

A significant part of his success as a Friar Minor is due to the 10 years that he spent as a member of the Canons of St. Augustine. Fernando Bulhom joined them in 1210 at their house in Lisbon. Seeking more distance from friends in that city, he transferred to the Augustinian house in Coimbra two years later. It was there that the remains of five friars martyred in Morocco were brought in 1220.

Already ordained in Coimbra, Fernando received permission to join the Friars Minor and made his novitiate in Coimbra, hoping to be assigned to North Africa and perhaps be martyred there as well. He took his religious name from the local friary’s patron, Anthony of the Desert, an Egyptian hermit who later became an abbot in the third and fourth centuries. Like his saintly patron who went from being a hermit to the head of a monastery, Anthony of Coimbra would serve God and the Church through a variety of ministries.

Are we open to what God may be asking of us today?

In Anthony’s Own Words

“When it is dark, we do not see how dusty and dirty our house is. Only when the place is flooded with sunlight do we realize its awful condition. So we need the light of God’s grace to show us the real state of our soul and induce us to clean up our hearts!”

Who was Saint Anthony of Padua?

Did You Know?

Anthony’s superior, Francis of Assisi, was cautious about education such as his protégé possessed. He had seen too many theologians taking pride in their sophisticated knowledge. 

Still, if the friars had to hit the road and preach to all sorts of people, they needed a firm grounding in Scripture and theology. So, when he heard the glowing report of Anthony’s debut at the ordination, Francis wrote in 1224, “It pleases me that you should teach the friars sacred theology, provided that in such studies they do not destroy the spirit of holy prayer and devotedness, as contained in the Rule.”

—Jack Wintz, OFM, Saint Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends, and Devotions


O God, you are the source of
all our gifts and talents.
We thank you for the many gifts
that you gave Fernando of Lisbon
(who became Anthony of Padua).
Help us to see our own talents
as coming from you and intended to
lead others to you.
Help us always to cooperate
generously with your grace.

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15 thoughts on “Saint Anthony Novena Day One: Man of Many Talents”

    1. May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages. (Prayer of Origen, 185-254 AD)

    2. Indeed
      I read his biography, it’s divine
      Many Christian denominations ( Anglicans, Lutherans, etc) believe in Saints. How come they have not converted yet, just by the role model of St Anthony of Padua or St Francis .
      Overflowing blessings to All of us.

  1. Charlotte White

    Thank you for providing this novena. I have such faith in Anthony as did my mother and grandmother. Maybe, it is a
    Portuguese tradition. ST. Anthony is my go to. He is my friend who is with me always

  2. Very true that many times I have seen devout souls who upon having acquired spiritual knowledge that pride dominates and become blinded that they refuse to acquire greater knowledge. Instead they become so pre-occupied of what they
    have learned and become so self centered that they are so sure that their way is the only way to gain greater knowledge. Alas! I too fell this way, so please help me Lord through the intercession of St Anthony.

  3. Devotion to St. Anthony has been etched in my heart since I was in high school. I remember clearly my Mom asked me to accompany her to a barrio to light a candle to St. Anthony for intercession to have my Dad’s stolen watch be returned. It was miraculously returned at our doorstep. Since then. I always call of his help whenever I needed something.

  4. St Anthony
    Pray not for me – for my two children that God sent in our lives – may return to our God, and the church. Thank you

  5. Pray that our precious daughter will return to the church and stop this transitioning into a man. Pray that the surgery she scheduled for healthy breast removal ( part of her transitioning) will be cancelled. She grew up in catholic schools and active in her parish. As her mom , I am heart broken . She refuses to talk to me because I will not accept this and use her chosen name. She has convinced her two sisters also not to talk to me. These girls all grew up active in the church. St Anthony , St Anthony please come around. My daughters are lost and cannot be found .

    1. Evelyn, your daughter effecting a change that troubles you has you feeling a great deal of pain. As a parent, our ministry never changes. We nurture, accept and remain in relationship. This is repeated often by Francis. That child is struggling to live consistent with whom they believe they are. What do we know about her/his torment? Whatever it is, we can continue to minister to him/ her, pray for their struggles and ask for them to be guided by Christ. That is what we do as Catholic parents. You can be right or have relationship. Our children never cease to need relationship. This is not happening to spite you, offend you or humiliate you. As painful as it may be, we are asked to humbly accept much that we may not fully understand or to accept what challenges us and the core of our sensibility. I pray that you will come to some consolation and peace and regain your place in the lives of all your children.

  6. Scolastica Maria Lukose

    Dear St Anthony
    Through this prayer may, I be able to see God’s light shining on each individual I have met. Please intercede to Our Lord Jesus Christ to allow me not to shy away from the light and also not to feel lonely if I can’t see the light but strength me and renew my soul. Amen

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