There is no more loved and admired saint of the Catholic Church than Saint Anthony of Padua. Though his work was in Italy, he was born in Portugal. He first joined the Augustinian Order and then left it and joined the Franciscan Order, in 1221, when he was twenty-six years old. The reason he became a Franciscan was because of the death of the five Franciscan protomartyrs — Saint Berard, Saint Peter, Saint Otho, Saint Accursius and Saint Adjutus — who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the year 1220, in Morocco, in North Africa, and whose headless and mutilated bodies had been brought to Saint Anthony’s monastery on their way back for burial. Saint Anthony became a Franciscan in the hope of shedding his own blood and becoming a martyr. He lived only ten years after joining the Franciscan Order
So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, so that the most unlettered and innocent might understand it, that he was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946. Saint Anthony was only thirty-six years old when he died. Saint Anthony is called “the Hammer of Heretics.” His great protection against their lies and deceits in the matter of Christian doctrine was to utter, simply and innocently, the Holy Name of Mary. When Saint Anthony of Padua found he was preaching the true gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes. This was not, as the liberals and naturalists are trying to say, for the instruction of the fishes, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the angels and the easing of his own heart. Saint Anthony wanted to profess the Catholic Faith with his mind and his mouth and his heart, at every moment of his life.