Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: Saint Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends, and Devotions

My wife and I just finished reading Saint Anthony of Padua: His Life, Legends, and Devotions. I requested it because we, like many, are fans of St. Anthony, my wife especially so.

This book is a composition of essays and some reference material on prayers and shrines to St. Anthony towards the end. For the uninformed, it's a great way to get a deeper understanding of Anthony and the many years of intense devotion to him over the years.

I was reading parts of it aloud to my wife in the mornings over coffee, and we came to where we could anticipate what was coming next. We even joked about it, because the book is very repetitive. This is its nature as a collection of independent essays, each of which recounts Anthony's life to greater or lesser degrees of detail, each with some slight difference in focus and perspective.

The compiler/author, friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M., says up front that it can be used to reference here and there--that it doesn't need to be read straight through, and I think that it would probably be better consumed that way.  But hey, repetition is the cousin of mastery, so my wife and I feel like we really know St. Anthony's life now.

As a lay Dominican, I have to note that it seems St. Anthony would have been more at home with us Dominicans. He had a similar, it seems, Augustinian education--much like St. Dominic himself. He had a knack for preaching, and we are, after all, the Order of Preachers. He had a strong desire for contemplation, and that is a strong part of the Dominican tradition.  But hey, God knows what he's doing, so I'm sure he had a reason for calling Anthony to the Franciscans. :)

I haven't read other books on St. Anthony, but I think I would prefer less repetition and more in-depth original material, building on what precedes. Still, it's a very readable, short book, and you'll definitely grow in your understanding of Anthony, so I can recommend it.


Thanks to the Catholic Company for sharing this book with me. As part of the FTC rules, I have to be clear that they gave this book to us in order to elicit a review. The Catholic Company is also a great source for first communion gifts and baptism gifts.