Who is the Most Popular Saint in the Whole Catholic Church

Paul Keggington

February 11, 2010

st-anthony-of-padua-777th-anniversary-tribute-2008-by-stephen-b-whatley.jpgPope Benedict XVI did it again. After calling St. Francis “an authentic giant of holiness” at a recent Vatican audience, a few weeks later he characterizes St. Anthony of Padua as “one of the most popular in the whole Catholic Church”. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and all Franciscans are standing tall and joyously following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ with these two cofounders of their Gospel life. (Portrait: Stephen B. Whatley)

Here’s a few notes from the Pope’s reflections:

  • a gifted preacher that intitiated one of the specific features of Franciscan theology-the role of divine love
  • “his outstanding gifts of intelligence, balance, apostolic zeal and mainly, mystic fervor” contributed to the development of Franciscan spirituality
  • when learned of the first five Franciscan missionaries who were martyred in Morocco, Anthony decided to join the friars
  • wrote two collections of sermons near the end of his life
  • “reminds us that prayer needs an atmosphere of silence, which is not the same as withdrawal from external noise, but is an interior experience…”

Read more here.

campfran-127.jpgPope Benedict’s closing comments: “Anthony many times invites the faithful to think of true wealth, that of the heart, which, making them good and merciful, makes them accumulate treasures for Heaven. Is not this perhaps, dear friends, a very important teaching also today, when the financial crisis and the serious economic imbalances impoverish not a few persons and create conditions of misery?”

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