On this day: St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

On this day we remember St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria.

"Anthony Mary was born in Cremona, Italy in early December of 1502 to the noble family of Zaccaria. His family had given the city over the years, no less than eighteen governors. His father, Lazzaro, died young when Anthony was still an infant.

"His mother, Antonietta Pescaroli, a widow at 18 years of age, might have accepted any of the numerous suitors for marriage. With her great attractiveness, her gifted mind and vast wealth, there was every promise of a brilliant future ahead. However, she refused every offer so that she could devote her­self entirely to works of charity and the education of her son.

"Anthony Mary fully conformed to the pious care of his mother and grew up a little angel. There was never a son more obedient and more inclined to piety than he. His biographers attribute to him what the Gospel according to Luke says of the Child Jesus, that he '…increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor' (2:52)."

--from "Chapter I, The Youth", An Illustrated Life of St. Anthony M. Zaccaria; Founder of the Barnabites and of the Angelics, Promoter of the 40 Hours Devotion.

Anthony went to Padua to study philosophy and medicine. After receiving his medical degree, he went home to Cremona to practice. After three years, he decided to study theology, and in 1528 he was ordained.

Anthony founded three religious organizations and preached. "He taught catechism to child­ren and other uninstructed persons and spent much of his time among those who were so dear to him, the poor. He vi­sited them in the hospitals and prisons where he was looked on as an Angel of Consolation and was beloved by all. His house was always open to the poor and pilgrims and to all who wished to consult him either for advice or direction or for comfort in their afflictions.

"From this, an incredible amount of good followed, not only for the poor but persons of every rank. Citizens and foreigners flocked to him at­tracted by the fame of his sanctity. His sweet and gentle manner and his affa­bility won the hearts of all who approached him."

--from "Chapter IV, The Apostle".

In 1539, Anthony became ill and directed that he be taken to his mother's house, where he died.

"On the 5th of July (Saturday afternoon), at the very hour when the first Vespers for the octave of the Holy Apostles were being sung in the church, as he himself had foretold, and after having received with the greatest fervor the Last Sacraments, the soul of Anthony Mary passed peacefully to God. He had not reached his 37th year! A life short in length, but long when we consider all he had done for the glory of God and the salvation of souls."

--from "Chapter VIII, The Victim".

Click here for a charming and informative cartoon about the life of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria. Scroll down the page nearly all the way for the Life of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria.

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