The relic medal of Saint Anthony of Padua is a very popular devotional item among Catholics. The medal depicts Saint Anthony holding the Infant Jesus in one hand and a lily in the other. The back of the medal typically shows the initials "A.M.D.G." which stand for "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" or "For the Greater Glory of God."
The relic medal is believed to have special powers of protection and is often worn by sailors and fishermen as a safeguard against danger at sea. Saint Anthony is also the patron saint of travelers, and many people wear his medal when embarking on a journey.
Priests often wear the Saint Anthony relic medal as a sign of their devotion to the saint. In fact, Pope John Paul II was known to always have a Saint Anthony relic medal with him.
So, what is the story behind this popular devotional item?
Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. He was originally named Fernando after his father, who was a knight in the service of the king of Portugal. When Fernando was 15 years old, he experienced a profound religious conversion while listening to a sermon by a Franciscan friar. From that moment on, he desired to become a member of the Franciscan Order.
Fernando's father opposed his son's decision to enter the Franciscans, so Fernando ran away from home. He changed his name to Anthony and went to the city of Coimbra, where he joined the Franciscans.
After his ordination to the priesthood, Anthony was sent to Morocco as a missionary. However, he became ill and had to return to Europe.
While in Italy, Anthony is said to have received a vision of the infant Jesus, which prompted him to change his focus from preaching to teaching. He became an extremely popular preacher and teacher, and was eventually canonized by Pope Gregory IX just one year after his death in 1231.
Saint Anthony is often invoked by Catholics as a intercessor, and his relic medal continues to be a popular devotional item among believers. Wearing a Saint Anthony relic medal is a beautiful way to show your devotion to this great saint.