Born at Cremona, Italy, in 1502, of noble parents. St. Anthony lost his father when he was young. But his mother succeeded in compensating for his loss, and saw to it that he received a solid training, inculcating, in him compassion for the poor and afflicted. He studied Medicine at University of Padua and returned home at age of twenty-two as a full-fledged physician. But he quickly realized that his vocation consisted in healing souls as well as bodies.
Accordingly, the devoted young man studied Theology but continued to practice Medicine. At the same time, he assisted the dying spiritually, taught catechism to the young, and placed himself completely at the service of everyone. After his ordination in 1528, he was encouraged to go to Milan where there were greater opportunities for serving his fellowman.
The Saint joined the Confraternity of Eternal Wisdom whose purpose was to carry out various works of mercy; then with help of Luigia Torelli, Countess of Guastella, he founded a community called the Angelicals, with the aim of rescuing fallen women and girls and those in danger of falling into sin.
In 1530, St. Anthony and two other zealous priests founded a congregation of priests to help regenerate and revive the love of Divine worship and a proper Christian way of life by frequent preaching and faithful administration of the Sacraments. This was the Order of Clerks Regular of St. Paul, and its early members banded with St. Anthony to minister night and day to the people of Milan, who were stricken by wars, plague, and neglect of the clergy. He died in 1539, at thirty-seven, worn out by his many labors. He was canonized in 1897 by Pope Leo XIII.
PRAYER: Lord, grant us, in the spirit of St. Paul the Apostle, to learn the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which surpasses all understanding. Taught by this knowledge, St. Anthony continually preached the word of salvation in Your Church. Amen.