Our Patron Saint, St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony of Padua, teacher, scholar, Doctor of the Church, orator and wonderworker, was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195 and died at the age of 36 in Vercelli, Italy, June 13, 1231.

His baptismal name was Ferdinand and it is therefore not incongruous that we find the Cathedral of San Fernando in the City of San Antonio.

He joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine in his native city at the age of 15 and ten years later received the Franciscan habit, at which time he took the new name of Anthony.

Among the most popular and beloved of the Saints, he has been aptly called “The Saint of the Whole World.”

In a special way he is the Saint of the City and Archdiocese of San Antonio which bear his name, a name given to the site of our city in 1691, more than 300 years ago and long before either city or diocese came into being.

He is not only our “Titular” Saint in that we bear his name, he has been also officially chosen as the “Patron” Saint of the Archdiocese, and may we humbly express the hope that under his patronage the story of growth and progress in the years that are gone will be but the opening chapter of a much more brilliant story to be unfolded in the years to come.

Our Patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Blessed Mother of God, the Virgin Mary appeared four times to a Chichimec peasant named Juan Diego.  Her first apparition occurred on the morning of December 9, 1531. Juan Diego experienced a vision of a young woman at a place called the Hill of Tepeyac. She asked Juan Diego to build a shrine on the spot where she had appeared.  Today, Villa de Guadalupe, in a suburb of Mexico City, is the holy place where the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe sits.  It is the most-visited Catholic shrine in the world, and the world’s third most-visited sacred site.

Due to Mary’s appearance as a pregnant mother and her announcement of being “mother of all”, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under this title is also popularly invoked as Patroness of the Unborn.  Her miraculously imprinted image venerated on a cloak (tilmahtli) is enshrined within the Basilica in Mexico City. Pope Leo XIII granted the image a decree of canonical coronation on February 8, 1887, and it was pontifically crowned on October 12, 1895. The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Native Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas. Replicas of the tilma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, and numerous parishes bear her name.   In San Antonio, the presence of “La Morenita” was brought by Franciscan missionaries, way before the foundation of the city of San Antonio and the ever-growing presence of Mexican descent in Texas makes the Virgin’s influence a foundational devotion in the identity of San Antonio.