Saturday, August 29, 2015

"I See My Lord" - The Death Of St. Anthony

The Shrine of Arcella is in a neighborhood in the city of Padua. At the time of St. Anthony, Arcella was a small village just outside the city walls called Capo di Ponte, where there was a small church, Santa Maria della Cella; next to this was a convent of the Poor Clares and a hermitage where a few friars minor lived. Tradition states that this primitive friary was founded in 1220 by St. Francis of Assisi upon his return from the Holy Land. Saint Anthony was brought here during his final moments on the evening of June 13th., 1231, while he was being transported to Padua. This is where he died.

"Finding the Saint there, the hand of the Lord descended upon him, increasing his suffering with great violence, creating much anxiety. After a brief rest, having received the Sacrament of Confession and absolution, he began to sing a hymn to the Blessed Mother, O Glorious Lady. As he finished, raising his eyes to heaven with a look of ecstasy, he stared straight ahead. When his fellow friar who was holding him asked what he saw, he replied 'I see my Lord'. At last, that holy soul, freed from the prison of the flesh, was absorbed in the abyss of light." (Vita Assidua).

The cell where St. Anthony died is preserved inside a large church built in 1895 on the site of previous structures and enlarged in 1930. Source: Messenger of Saint Anthony