Why did St. Anthony seem so familiar?
My mother was always praying to St. Anthony. I remember as a child, she called on him for help all the time and with six kids, she probably kept St. Anthony pretty busy all on her own.
Her devotion to St. Anthony was in part because of his extraordinary love for the poor expressed most often by his feeding the hungry. She grew up in Mt. Adams, a suburb of Cincinnati in a family of nine children. At that time, it was a working class community of Irish and Germans. Her family was poor. Mostly, due to her father’s alcoholism, there were many times when they went without food. She talked about how the nuns brought them food and they were grateful, but she was also really embarrassed. I think that also made her much more empathetic for people in need.
Mom died young (55) and had already passed when I started working for the Franciscans about 13 years ago. I started the day before the Feast of St. Anthony. As one of my first experiences with the Franciscans, I went to visit the St. Anthony Shrine. It was my first time there and it just felt like home. I could not figure out why I was so calm and relaxed and content there. I went up to the grotto area and lit a candle and got this incredible feeling of peace. But, I also had this strong feeling I had been there before. I knew I hadn’t. The Shrine was the other side of town from where I grew up and still live.
I could not get this feeling out of my head. I told my older sister about it and she looked at me like I had two heads. “Of course you felt like you have been there before, because you have. Mom took us there when we were kids. You were probably only about three or four years old”.
I sometime feel like my mother must have talked with St. Anthony in person and decided that I needed to be here to help raise money for the poor.
We will celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony on June 13. Would you consider expressing your devotion to St. Anthony with a gift of St. Anthony’s Bread? St. Anthony Bread is a term used for offerings made in thanksgiving to God for blessings received through the prayers of St. Anthony.
Thank you for everything you do to make the work of the friars possible. I see firsthand how much your loyalty and support mean to people that have so little. Without you, we’d be hard pressed to do much of the work we do. Thank you for caring.
May God bless you,
Colleen R. Cushard
Co-director of Friar Works