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Saint Anthony of Lisbon

Saint Anthony was born in Portugal, near Lisbon’s Cathedral in 1195, with the name Fernando de Bolhões. He studied in Coimbra and joined the Franciscans in 1220, adopting the name António. He soon became famous, thanks to his preaching talent and moved to Italy, where he would die in Padua in 1231, after a brilliant career as a theology professor. He was declared Saint one year after his death and, by the 13th century, he was patron of over 40 churches in Portugal. He was elected Portugal’s patron in the 16th century and became the protector of happy marriages and lost things as well. This wise and kind saint is celebrated on the 13th of June, specially in Lisbon, with street parties and a procession that winds through the heart of old Alfama neighborhood. It fills up with both pots of “manjericos” (basil bushes the shape of a globe) decorated with paper carnations and popular verses, and thrones, small votive altarpieces where people can leave one coin or two. This tradition goes back to the 1775, when funds where being raised to reconstruct Saint Anthony’s church, destroyed in an earthquake. A Vida Portuguesa has created its own version, the “do it yourself” Saint Anthony Shrine, a kit with everything you need to assemble and celebrate this ancient and beautiful tradition at home.