Padua (Padova), Italy: Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua
About Saint Anthony of Padua:
Despite what it might sound like from the name, Saint Anthony of Padua was actually born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. Against the wishes of his noble family, he left to join the Canons Regular of Saint Augustin at the age of 15. He left after several years to join the Augustinian monastery at Coimbra, Spain.
After seeing the relics of 5 Franciscan missionaries who had been martyred in Morocco he felt a desire to join the Franciscans and go preach the Gospel to the Moors and had hopes of becoming a martyr himself.
His plans were not fulfilled, because upon arrival he contracted malaria and had to return home; however, on his return voyage the ship was hit by a terrific storm and he ended up in Italy. Once there he decided to make Italy his new home rather than continue on back to Portugal.
In 1221 while attending the general chapter of Franciscans in Assisi he met Saint Francis in person. Soon after he began what became a brilliant life of preaching. When it was realized that a priest had not been assigned to give the homily on one occasion, Anthony was assigned the task. Until that time he was thought only worthy of reading the gospel, not really as a preacher. He was such a powerful homilist that soon crowds began to flock to the missions and retreats that he gave.
His love for Christ and the Eucharist shown through and he fought against the indifference and abuses rampant in the Church at that time.
There were several reported miracles during his lifetime, including a time when heretics tried to poison his food but he rendered the poison harmless when he made the sign of the cross over the food.
Saint Anthony of Padua died in 1231 and in 1263 when his body was transferred to a new Basilica, his body was found to have disintegrated except for his tongue and vocal cords, both of which are now on display in reliquaries in the Basilica of Saint Anthony.
In addition to the relics of Saint Anthony, the Basilica is one of the most beautiful in Italy, and that is saying a lot!
Traveling to Padua:
Padua (known as Padova in Italian) is about 30 miles west of Venice and included in some group tours. In fact, if you are traveling on a budget, you might want to consider staying in Padua and taking the 30-minute train ride in to Venice. Hotels in Padua can cost half what they do in Venice and the train is inexpensive (about 7 Euro round trip).
Padua is also easily reached from cities such as Rome (about 3 hours). By car the trip takes about one hour from Padua to Venice–but then you have find somewhere to park your car.
Address: Piazza del Santo, 11, 35123 Padova, Italy
GPS coordinates: 45° 24′ 5.0184” N, 11° 52′ 50.7828” E
Tel: (+39) 049 822 5652 Fax: (+39) 049 878 9735
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua.
If possible, try also to visit the Anthonian Shrines in nearby Camposampiero (where St. Anthony lived out the final days of his life)
In addition to many churches named after St. Anthony of Padua throughout the world, there is also a shrine to Saint Anthony in Lisbon, his birthplace.
For those living in or visiting the U.S. there is a shrine to Saint Anthony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which has the largest collection of artifacts of Saint Anthony outside of the Vatican itself.
And, the largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul, Turkey, is Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.