Venerable Anthony Margil

Saint of the Day for 8/6

Anthony was born in Valencia, Spain. After he joined the Franciscans and was ordained, he decided to become a missionary. When the missionary college of Santa Cruz in Querétaro, Mexico, was organized, Anthony volunteered and was accepted. In 1683 he arrived in Vera Cruz and found that city had been devastated by a pirate attack. Life in the New World would not be easy.

Anthony covered a wide territory in his 43 years in New Spain. He worked in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Texas. After serving as superior in Querétaro for 13 years, he established missionary colleges in Guatemala City and in Zacatecas, Mexico.

Although Anthony was used to self-denial, missionary life provided plenty of mortification. He walked thousands of miles and showed great courage among hostile Indians.

In 1716, missionaries from the Zacatecas college founded Misión Guadalupe in eastern Texas. Anthony himself established the missions of Dolores and San Miguel in that state. When war with Spain caused the French to invade east Texas in 1719, Anthony and his confreres withdrew to Misión San Antonio (later known as the Alamo), which had been set up the previous year. In 1720, he began Misión San José in San Antonio.

Anthony died in Mexico City on August 6, 1726. In 1836, he was declared venerable.

Missionaries like Anthony have difficult lives. Their work is often hard, and its fruit not often apparent. Like missionaries before him and since then, Anthony trusted that God would ultimately bring some good out of all these sacrifices.