SAN ANTONIO DE FLORENCIA
Saint Antoninus was born at Florence in 1389 and entered the Order of Preachers in adolescence, after having memorized the entire Decretals to prove his ability. He was soon promoted to positions of responsibility, becoming successively Prior at Cortona, Naples and Rome (the Minerva). In these houses, he labored with great wisdom and firmness to raise the standard of regular observance. While he was Prior in Rome, he had the incorrupt remains of Saint Catherine of Siena enshrined in a golden sarcophagus.
Returning to Florence, he founded the celebrated priory of San Marco. The Saint made the library of this priory accessible to scholars, thus making it a center of Renaissance spirituality and culture and the first public library in Europe.
Likened to Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Alphonsus Liguori because of his writings on Canon Law and moral and ascetical theology, he has also been widely acclaimed as a preacher, reformer, economist, sociologist and historian.
In 1446, Antoninus, although unwilling because of humility, was compelled to become Archbishop of Florence. As a bishop, he was noted for his mercy to the poor, as well as for his prudence and good counsel, which justly earned him the title “Antoninus the Counselor”.
“The People’s Prelate” and “Father of the Poor” passed to his eternal reward on May 2, 1459, in the seventieth year of his life. His body within the eight days of his death was found to be very flexible and exuded an intense fragrance. Perfectly entire, it remains to this day in the Dominican Church of San Marco. Saint Antoninus was canonized by Pope Clement VII in 1524.
O God, you made the Bishop Saint Antoninus admirable with the gift of counsel; grant that, while pilgrims through the darkness of this life, we may learn, by the supernatural light given to us through his intercession, what we must do. This we ask you through Christ our Lord. Amen
FEASTDAY: MAY 10