St. Anthony of Padua and the Donkey - Ellicott City, MD
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Navy72
N 39° 15.363 W 076° 56.302
18S E 332753 N 4346981
Quick Description: St. Anthony of Padua is one of the world's most beloved Saints. In a famous story, an unbeliever said he would only believe that Christ was present in the Eucharist if his donkey bowed to it. This statue shows the result of the test.
Location: Maryland, United States
Date Posted: 6/13/2011 2:14:27 PM
Waymark Code: WMBQGH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Arogant
Views: 3

Long Description:
St. Anthony of Padua is one of the world's most beloved saints, respected and venerated even by non-Christians. He is especially known as the patron saint of the lost for during his life he restored health, hope, virtue, and faith to many he met.

This statue of St. Anthony of Padua and the donkey bowing to the Eucharist is located at the Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, Maryland. It is between the Shrine's outdoor altar and the front of the shrine building.

The Shrine of St. Anthony is a ministry of the Conventual Franciscan Friars. Mass is offered daily at noon. This peaceful, holy ground is welcoming to all. It is a wonderful pilgrimage destination and one of my favorite places to rest and reflect. Additional details about the Shrine are located after the brief biography of St. Anthony of Padua and the story of the donkey and the Eucharist.

A Brief Biography of St. Anthony of Padua

Born in 1195 in Portugal as heir to a noble title and lands, Anthony's future seemed to be secure and well planned. But he started his restless quest for God's call early, giving up his inheritance to enter a monastery at age 15, seeking a life of solitude and devotion. Anthony moved to the Abbey of Santa Cruz, noted for learning and study, and devoted the next eight years to studying theology and Scripture. His phenomenal memory and facility for knowledge made it obvious to everyone that this was the life he was meant to lead ...until five guests showed up at the monastery.

Barefoot, clothed only in rags, with bright eyes and burning words, were these men holy or heretics? What was this new Order called the Franciscans to which they belonged? Anthony listened to their story of fellow Franciscans being martyred in Morocco, and he began to believe that he was wasting his life on books.

With permission to leave the monastery, Anthony was intent on going directly to Morocco as a Franciscan and to die for the faith. The Franciscans accepted Anthony into their Order knowing he intended to become a martyr as soon as possible. When he landed in Morocco it seemed like everything was finally going as he planned it.

But God had other plans. He no sooner got out into the desert than he became so ill that he wasn't even able to get out of bed, let alone walk the street preaching. His attempt at missionary work was such a complete failure that the Franciscans ordered him back to Portugal after only four months.

The ship taking him back to Portugal, however, was sent off course by a storm and forced to land in Sicily. As Anthony recovered his health in Italy, he conceived a new plan. He would go to the fourth general chapter meeting of the Franciscans and see St. Francis of Assisi. Surely St. Francis would know what Anthony was supposed to do with the rest of his life. But Francis, close to death, didn't notice Anthony among the three thousand friars who had come to the chapter.

However, after his ordination at Forli in 1222, in a sermon on the priesthood, Anthony's gifts were finally discovered. Suddenly recognized as a great preacher, Anthony was given the mission by St. Francis to preach anywhere and everywhere.

Suddenly what looked like failures or misdirections in his life made sense. His study in the monastery was not a waste of time, but a foundation to preach on the Scriptures. His travel to Morocco and Italy was not a disaster but experiences in real life from which to teach. His assignment to a retreat house in the mountains was not a rejection but a grounding of his spirit in prayer and meditation to sustain him in the Holy Spirit.

What did Anthony preach? He preached the Scripture; it was said of him that he knew the Bible so well, that if some disaster destroyed all copies of it, the Scriptures could still be recovered from what he knew. He probed deep into each passage to find the key message for Christians.

Anthony preached peace in a time of feuds, vendettas, and wars, saying, "No more war; no more hatred and bloodshed, but peace. God wills it." Anthony preached a positive message. In a time when heretics were teaching things such as that the flesh was evil and only the soul was created by God, Anthony didn't indulge in attacks of heretics. He spoke of the true beliefs of Christians in such a positive way that he won people back to the Faith.

But Anthony believed that preaching was useless -- if one didn't preach by example. "The only ones who preach correctly are those who conform by their actions to what they announce with their mouths."

Padua was the place that Anthony had chosen as his home base after he started preaching. And that's where he went after he fell ill in 1231. In order to find a little solitude in the midst of the clamors for his attention, he built a sort of treehouse where he lived until he became too weak. He asked to be taken back to his friary to die but he didn't make it. At a stop at a convent of Poor Clares he said, "I behold my God," and died. It was June 13, 1231; he was only 35 years old. The bishop of Padua, and Pope Gregory IX, immediately began to promote his canonization. Anthony was so well known and his holiness so universally attested that the investigation lasted less than a year. On May 30, 1232, Pope Gregory canonized Anthony of Padua.

Anthony is often shown with the Christ Child because of a legend concerning an event that took place in a monastery where he stayed overnight. When his host peeked into Anthony's room to see the saint at prayer, he saw that Anthony was not alone. The Christ Child stood on a table before Anthony, and Anthony placed his arm gently around the Child, holding him. At times Anthony is also pictured with the Book of the Scriptures, for he preached and taught God's Word so eloquently, or with a lily, a sign of his holiness of life.

St. Anthony and the Donkey that Bowed to the Eucharist

The story of St. Anthony with the donkey is also a well known one. St Anthony worked hard to convert those who did not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist because he genuinely felt sorry for them. He saw that they were depriving themselves of the most precious gift of the Eucharist, and he believed that no one could long survive without this spiritual nourishment. One day, a nonbeliever told Anthony that he would believe that Christ was truly present in the Eucharist only if his mule bowed down to it. They established that the test should take place in three days. The heretic starved his mule for the next three days.
When the appointed time had arrived, Anthony stood off to one side with the consecrated host in his hands, while the heretic stood to the other holding some fodder for the mule to eat. The mule ignored the fact that it was starving and it went over before the Eucharist and knelt down to adore the Blessed Sacrament. This is the scene portrayed in this statue.

St. Anthony Today

Today St. Anthony is truly a universal saint, respected and venerated even by non-Christians. He is especially known as the patron saint of the lost, for all throughout his life he restored things back to people who had lost them: for some it was their health, for others their hope, for still others their virtue, and for many their faith. Today, as in the 13th century, we call out, "St. Anthony, pray for us!"

Primary Source: Saint Anthony of Padua Province, USA, Order of Friars Minor Conventual at the website below.

Additional Information About the Shrine of St. Anthony

The Franciscan Friars invite you to journey as pilgrims to the Shrine of St. Anthony (itself a waymark in Roman Catholic Churches category). The Shrine offers spiritual wholeness and healing through Eucharist, Reconciliation, quiet reflection and counsel. The Shrine is an ideal oasis for all types of retreats, conferences, days of reflection, and much more.

Enter and experience the peace of holy ground where Our Lord awaits and offers the opportunity to deepen your prayerful relationship with Him. A visit to this sacred place, true to its Catholic presence in the Archdiocese of Baltimore with all its uniqueness and rich history will call you back again and again.

The remainder of this description is largely based on information found on the Shrine website.

The Shrine is located on land once owned by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. This land was a portion of Doughoregan Manor (itself a waymark in the National Register of Historic Places category). The Manor House on the property was a gift from Carroll, the richest man in America, to his favorite granddaughter Emily.

The Franciscan Friars purchased the property on which the Shrine is located in 1928 to be used by the Friars as their novitiate. As grand as it was, the Manor House was too small for the growing community from the start. One of the Friars, an architect, Fr. Benedict Przemielewski was commissioned to design a new novitiate. Fr. Benedict chose to miniature the “Sacro Convento,” the original Friary built in Assisi, Italy, in the 13th century where St. Francis is buried.

The Shrine building today retains its original beauty and splendor though it has been renovated to meet the demands of ministry in the 21st century. Some of the many features of the Shrine itself and the surrounding grounds are discussed below.

Chapel of St. Anthony: The Jewel of the Shrine

The jewel of the Shrine, and its most important room, is the Chapel. Upon entering the Chapel itself, one should pause, realizing that this is "sacred space" and "holy ground" – where an atmosphere of holy silenceprevails, creating an oasis of peace for the Divine Presence within.

With its beautifully carved gumwood choir stalls, its mosaic Stations of the Cross, and its coffered ceiling, the Chapel is a gem of the early Renaissance.It has four distinct areas: the interior narthex, the nave, the sanctuary, and the apse.

In the narthex is the reliquary of St. Anthony. This gold-leafed bust depicts the Portuguese Franciscan whom the whole world would come to know as the “miracle-worker” and “finder of lost things.”

In the middle of the flame is a precious first-class relic ofthe saint – a smallpiece of petrified flesh removed from his sarcophagus in Padua, Italy, in 1995. The friars in Padua sent the relic to the friars of Ellicott City in 1998. Catholics venerate, orpay respect to, relics as remembrances of a saint whose human body was once a “temple” of the Holy Spirit.

Hundreds of thousands of people each year send the friars petitions for the heavenly intercession of St. Anthony – friend of God and friend to humanity.

The nave of the Chapel consists of the choir stalls facing each other. Here the friars would recite or chant the Divine Office, back and forth across the dark flagstone floor. The original choir stalls numbered 72, after the number of disciples sent out by Jesus in the Gospels. With the additional pews in front, the choir now seats 150.

The nave leads to the sanctuary, where Holy Mass is offered on the central Altar. The Altar was designed to evoke the teaching of Jesus “I am the vine; you are the branches”(John 15:1-8). The ambo (pulpit lectern) in the nave has a matching design, linking the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

These chapel furnishings attempt to evoke the spirit of St. Anthony, the friar and priest, who used every opportunity to encourage people to hear the Word of God and to participate in the Holy Eucharist.

The biblical tree motif also reminds people of the fact that St. Anthony, towards the end of his life, spent many hours of prayer in a walnut treehouse which his friend Count Tiso had constructed for him at Camposampiero. It was in that walnut tree that Anthony had his vision of the Christ child.

To the right of the altar is a large walnut Tau Cross. St. Francis of Assisi adopted the Tau as his “signature,” after he heard Pope Innocent III preach about it at the 4th Lateran Council. Depending upon the liturgical season of the year, one of two carved images of Christ hang on the Tau: Christ Crucified or the Resurrected Jesus. The corpus of Christ Crucified was carved at Niepokalanow, Poland, by an artist whose guardian and mentor was St. Maximilian Kolbe. The Resurrected Jesus, like many other chapel furnishings, came to Ellicott City from the former St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Massachusetts.

The apse at the far end of the Chapel centers upon the Tabernacle– designed with the biblical tree motif, and depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit with its seven spiritual gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, knowledge, and fear of the Lord.

Persons are welcome to enter the apse for silent prayer and adoration. The sanctuary and apse together form the Shrine’s “oasis of peace,” where Jesus Christ welcomes people of all faiths to experience themselves as infinitely loved by God.

Grounds of St. Anthony Shrine: A Little Assisi in Maryland

Situated on 310 acres of rolling hills and woodlands in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington area, the Shrine of St. Anthony offers a unique opportunity to “come away and rest awhile.” (Mk 6:31) Just as St. Francis used creation as a ladder of “art” to ascend to the “Artist” God, the friars of the Shrine invite all pilgrims to deepen their relationship with God through the experience of creation.

The grounds of the Shrine of St. Anthony include many opportunities to pray. Celebrations at the Shrine often take place out of doors, giving pilgrims an opportunity to experience God’s creation as part of the liturgical celebration. We have a Grotto to our Lady, a, open-air Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, and new (Spring 2011) Stations of the Cross, all of which are open year-round. Our many wooded acres have hiking and meditation trails on which one may experience the beauty, goodness, and love of the Creator. There are benches positioned all around the property on which one may read, pray, or just spend quiet time in God’s creation.

For more information on the Shrine visit
Associated Religion(s): Roman Catholic

Statue Location: Shrine of St. Anthony, 12290 Folly Quarter Rd. Ellicott City, MD 21042

Entrance Fee: Free

Website: [Web Link]

Artist: Not listed

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