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Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

St Anthony Appeal St. Anthonys Guild

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The Great Novena to St. Anthony

I hope my letter finds you well, healthy and ready for Spring weather!

I have a very touching story to share with you. Amazingly, since this horrific war began in Ukraine, we have been able to communicate with one of our brother Friars in one of our houses outside of Kiev. He speaks very little English, but Brother Emmanuel has helped us understand what they are going through in this war-torn and devastated country. Brother Emmanuel, and the other four brothers that live in his Friary, teach the children in one of the schools. For many years, they have also brought these children food for their breakfast and lunch.

Days ago, Brother Emmanuel left the school on Friday and when he returned on Sunday afternoon, the school building was literally bombed out of existence. This beautiful place that had once been filled with laughing children enjoying whatever small snacks Emmanuel could beg from his neighbors now was an empty shell, a hole in the ground, a memory of times past. As the good Friar looked in disbelief, he saw what used to be his classroom, now a crater filled with broken beams, shattered lights, and a piece of a missile literally sticking out of a child’s desk.

SUDDENLY, HE WAS STRUCK WITH FEAR, not from the horrific site he was looking at, but rather, because someplace in that rubble was a precious item buried and possibly destroyed forever.

He always had a very strong devotion to St. Anthony, his mother taught him about the Wonder-Worker saint, and how his powerful intercession can help in any situation. Before she died, she gave him her one precious possession, a small wooden statue of St. Anthony that her mother had given to her. He had shown the statue to his students and taught them about St. Anthony and his love and care for them. Now, he was sure the statue was gone, destroyed in the missile attack on the school. 

Emmanuel walked to what had been his classroom, knelt in the rubble and began digging with his hands, hoping against hope that he would be able to find the relic of his mother’s love under the broken cement and splintered wood of his former classroom.

Emmanuel prayed to St. Anthony as he dug deeper and deeper into the ruins of the place where the statue had rested. His hands were bloodied and scraped, but he continued, sometimes using pieces of the missile that destroyed his world. 

Emmanuel worked until the sunlight was gone, and he almost gave up until he saw what he knew was the head of the Infant Jesus held by St. Anthony! He began to weep for joy! 

St. Anthony had come through again for Emmanuel and his mother’s memory. With tears streaming down his soot covered face, he pulled the scratched and nicked statue from the remains and held it high.

“St. Anthony,” he cried, “no one and nothing can stop your powerful will to help people like me, desperate and terrified of what will become of our children and our country!”

“THANK YOU, ST. ANTHONY, for finding yourself,” he laughed through his tears.

I know you share the great devotion of Bro. Emmanuel to St. Anthony. Please join your prayers with those of the Franciscan Friars in our Great Novena to St. Anthony! Miracles happen every day because of St. Anthony, and you can be a part of those miracles. Because of your devotion and participation on our Great Novena to this Wonder-Worker, this Great Intercessor, these miracles can happen in your life and in the lives of those you pray for. Join the Friars and feel the power of the thousands of members of St. Anthony’s Guild unified together in prayer around this great Saint as we prepare to celebrate his Feast Day on June 13th.

Your life can be changed like Brother Emmanuel’s. He found his precious family statue, you may find lost love, or healing in a relationship, you may find lost articles or a lost spirit of prayer or happiness. Often, things that are lost are not simply objects, but may be people or love or joy that we have lost in our lives. We all suffer loss, and St. Anthony can help find our joy and laughter again in life. We simply must trust him and pray to him through this Great Franciscan Novena!  Join us and the Family of St. Anthony’s Guild in this Great Novena! 

Your generous gift in honor of St. Anthony will also help the Franciscan Friars continue to serve God’s poor whom St. Anthony so deeply loved. The friars are serving children, women, and men who have little in their lives. Your generous gift in honor of St. Anthony can help us buy food, formula, diapers, and provide medical assistance for the poor and desperate who come to us each day.

Join the Great Novena to St. Anthony, and hopefully miracles will happen in your life too.  May St. Anthony, the Great Wonder-Worker, help make all your prayers come true!

Fr. David Convertino, OFM

Fr. David Convertino, OFM

Executive Director,
St. Anthony's Guild

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