Anthony was a child who grew up with riches, but he chose to live as St. Francis did: in poverty, or poorness, helping others and loving God. One of the gifts God gave Anthony was the ability to teach and give talks. When he was to preach in a church, the church was soon overflowing with people. He also spoke in the town squares, too. People who had done something wrong, like stealing or lying, would make up for it after hearing him speak. He helped many people change their lives. He has become one of the most loved saints of all times.
Many people ask St. Anthony to help them find something they have lost. Why? One story tells of Anthony's work on a book of psalms. For years he had been writing it. One day, one of his students, a restless, unhappy young man, took it and ran away. He was going to sell it. Anthony prayed. He wanted his work back, but he was more concerned about the young man. The young man came back, with the book. Anthony helped him decide what God was calling him to do with his life. Everyone in the monastery felt that Anthony's prayers had found the lost book and the lost young man. They asked him to pray whenever they lost something. Soon people outside of the monastery asked for Anthony's help. And today, many people still pray to him when they lose something.
You may have seen statues or pictures of St. Anthony holding Baby Jesus. There is a story about that too! One time, Anthony was visiting at someone's home. He went outside to pray by himself. He was concentrating on Jesus and talking to him in his heart. Someone looked out the window and saw Anthony in prayer, and had a vision that Anthony was holding Jesus.
From The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions for Children's Faith Formation, edited by Beth McNamara.
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