St. Anthony’s Bread
The excellent expression of devotion to St. Anthony, known as St. Anthony’s Bread, goes back to the Thirteenth Century. It has been a source of many favors and graces, and has also been of great aid to the poor and the needy.
According to the most ancient chronicles a child of Padua, even while the great basilica was building, fell into a barrel of water, and was drowned. In her grief the mother called on St. Anthony for help, and promised she would donate the child’s weight in grain for the poor if she were restored to life.
While the mother was still praying, the child arose as if from sleep. This miracle gave rise to the pious practice of giving alms to the poor as a petition or in return for favors received through St. Anthony’s intercession.
The practice received its present name from a favor received by a pious girl named Louise Bouffier at Toulon in France in the last century. She promised loaves of bread for the poor in exchange for St. Anthony’s help. Her shop later became a center of devotion to the Saint; the alms of those whose favors were heard were given to the numerous poor families of the city.
The Franciscan Order encourages this act of charity to the afflicted and those in want everywhere. It is a laudable method of sacrifice and of thanksgiving to St. Anthony.
Should you wish to take part in this tradition method of prayer to St. Anthony, you may send your offering and petition marked plainly, to St. Anthony’s Bread.
Any offering, however small, that you care to send today in honor of St. Anthony will be used for the poorest of the poor.