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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
A cavalry captain relates the following fact in his recollections of the War of 1870. “I was ordered to reconnoiter the enemy’s position by night. In the darkness we saw a light shining on the edge of a wood and we approached it. Suddenly I saw a woman’s silhouette in front of me, standing out clearly against the dark background. Taking a few steps forward I recognized my mother, who had been dead for three years. She waved her hand at me, as if to tell me not to approach. So I commanded, ‘Halt!’ and cried, ‘Do not advance any further, there is danger.’ I dismounted and took a few more steps with great caution. Then I saw that we were on the edge of a deep quarry. The enemy had put the light on the other side to draw us in. Already the bullets were whistling in our ears. I thanked God for sending my mother to save me from certain death.”
In many cities hundreds, even thousands of loaves of bread are distributed to the poor out of devotion to Saint Anthony. These loaves are called simply “Saint Anthony’s bread.” What is the origin of this distribution of bread? It is that Saint Anthony likes to grant the promises of those who promise him to distribute bread to the poor if he helps them in some desperate matter. And indeed, it has been found that Saint Anthony came to the aid of many desperate cases. Let us cite just one example:
Madame Louise Bouffier of Toulon ran a store. One morning she could not open the door because the lock had been damaged. So she sent for a locksmith, who worked for more than an hour without arriving at a result. Finally he said that it was impossible to open the door and that it had to be broken down. While the workman returned to get the necessary tools, the patroness thought that perhaps Saint Anthony could remedy the situation. When the locksmith returned, she promised Saint Anthony several loaves of bread for the poor, if the door would open without having to be broken down. Then she asked the locksmith to make one last effort. The locksmith did so and was not at all surprised that he was able to open the door on the first try. From then on, this lady was a great admirer of Saint Anthony of Padua and spread his devotion among her relatives and friends. The best proof that the help of Saint Anthony was not missing is that often more than 1000 kg of bread are distributed per day in Toulon in honor of the Saint of Padua. The mocking remarks with which several newspapers greeted this devotion also contributed to make it known, and for a long time “the bread of Saint Anthony” was distributed in many cities.
This devotion, based on the help of Saint Anthony, is a striking proof of the intercession of the Saints for us.