Born in Portugal more than 800 years ago, St. Anthony of Padua is most commonly known to Catholics as the finder of lost things, with prayers invoking the Portuguese saint often about finding one’s keys or phone.
But St. Anthony — who is the second quickest canonized saint in history — is also one of the most influential saints in the Church, recognized across the world for his miracles and preaching.
But who is St. Anthony? Here are three awesome facts about one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church.
1. He’s known as the Hammer of Heretics
Known as one of the Doctors of the Church — or saints who made particularly important contributions to church teaching — St. Anthony spent years learning theology and Latin, and was especially known for his eloquent preaching of the Gospel. Because of his extensive knowledge of the Bible, St. Anthony taught and preached across his native Portugal and later his new home of Italy, where he died. It was his ability to preach and his knowledge of Scripture that made St. Anthony particularly effective in speaking with non-Christians.
2. He’s known as the Professor of Miracles
Beyond his education and preaching skills, St. Anthony is known as one of the great miracle-workers, healing the sick and raising the dead, but one of his most famous miracles involves a group of fish. In the town of Rimini, Italy, after the townspeople refused to listen to him and even mocked him, St. Anthony turned to the ocean and started preaching. Soon enough, a large school of fish rose up from the water and appeared to listen intently, only leaving after St. Anthony finished his sermon! Even after his death, miracles continue to be attributed to this rather humble Franciscan priest.
3. He’s the Patron Saint of…well, a lot
While St. Anthony is most famous for being the patron saint of lost things, he’s also the patron saint of amputees, animals, Brazil, elderly people, horses, oppressed people, poor people, pregnant women, shipwrecks, and many, many more. As one of the most popular Catholic saints, St. Anthony is well-known and well-loved.