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Saint Anthony of Padua, whose language has been preserved to this day, died in Padua on June 13, 1231, at the age of 34. That same day he appeared to his beloved master, Abbot Thomas of Verceil. The latter was in his cell suffering from a terrible sore throat. Suddenly St. Anthony opened the door, greeted him and said as he approached, “I have unhitched the donkey, I am going to my homeland.” Then, after touching the abbot on the neck, he went out. At first the abbot thought that Antony was on his way to Spain and had wanted to pay him a passing visit. (In those days, the donkey was the usual mount for travelers.) But when Anthony did not return, the abbot asked what had become of him. He was told that no one had entered the convent. At the same time the abbot noticed that his pains had disappeared. A few days after this mysterious visit, Thomas learned that the Saint had died at the same hour that he had appeared to him: he understood Anthony’s words. The Saint had meant that he had left his mortal body to go to the divine Fatherland.
Several Saints have had similar apparitions which prove the immortality of the soul.
The famous Viennese preacher, Saint Clement Mary Hofbauer (d. 1820), had a friend named Zachary Werner, who had been a Protestant but had been converted and made a priest. One day – it was about 18 months after the death of Clement Hofbauer – Zachary had just finished his evening prayer and was going to bed. Suddenly the whole room was lit up as if by daylight, and Clement Mary Hofbauer appeared to his friend, holding a palm branch, a lily and an olive branch. He was radiant and beckoned his friend to come, and then the apparition disappeared. Zachary Werner understood at once what this meant. Preaching the next Sunday in the Ursuline chapel, he told them what he had seen and said, “I don’t have long to live, Hofbauer told me I was dying.” And he added: “It was not a dream: everything was natural, he spoke to me as truly as I speak to you.” Shortly afterwards Zachary Werner died.
The palm that Clement Hofbauer carried in his hand was a symbol of triumph, the lily and the olive branch a symbol of purity, innocence and concord, virtues that Saint Clement Mary Hofbauer had always cultivated.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.
My Jesus, forgiveness and mercy!
By the merits of Thy holy Wounds and the sorrows of Thy Mother.