St Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis of Argentina and Fatima visionary Sr Lucia have an important friend in common – St Anthony of Padua, and his relics will next month tour Australia, reports the Messenger of St Anthony.
The much loved 13th century friar was a contemporary of St Francis, and one of the earliest members of the Franciscan Order founded by St Francis in 1209.
When Pope Francis was Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, he led a prominent procession through the streets of the Argentinian capital in the year 2000, carrying in his hands a reliquary containing a precious relic of St Anthony of Padua – a fragment of his floating rib.
This relic of the saint's floating rib was also venerated by St Anthony’s fellow Portuguese countrywoman, Sr Lucia of Fatima, when it was taken to her convent, the Monastery of Carmelite nuns at Coimbra, in January 1995.
Fr Mario Conte, a Franciscan Friar from the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua, Italy, where the saint is buried, will visit Australia from June 6 to June 21 with this very relic, which Pope Francis and Sr Lucia both venerated.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Fr Conte, the editor of the Messenger of St Anthony, said: “There is nothing superstitious about relics. The real meaning of a relic is love – they are a link of love between the person who venerates and the saint.”
St Anthony was born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua in 1231, aged 35. Noted by his contemporaries for his preaching and expert knowledge of scripture, St Anthony was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946.
St Anthony of Padua relics to tour Australia (Messenger of St Anthony)
St Anthony of Padua relics in Melbourne in June (Melbourne Catholic)