1231 His death

The care of Count Tiso and of the friars was not enough to bring Anthony back to health. On June 13, 1231, Anthony came down from his tree house to eat the noonday meal with the friars. They had scarcely begun when he collapsed into their arms. As the friars supported him, he whispered to them that he wished to be taken to Padua so that he might die there. He wanted to spend his last hours in the friary which he loved so much near the Church of Santa Maria. The friars put him on a cart and travelled toward Padua, but Anthony was already too weak to make it. As they approached a Poor Clare monastery in Arcella, a town close to Padua, they decided that it would be best to take him there. After he was anointed by a priest, he intoned the hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “O Glorious Queen, exalted above the stars!”

The friars noticed that he was gazing attentively at something, and so they asked him what he saw. He responded, “I see my Lord.” Shortly after that he passed away. He was only 36 years old, but he had travelled thousands of kilometres in his missions and he had preached to tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of the faithful. The friars tried to keep Anthony’s death a secret lest his body be stolen, but almost immediately children were seen running through the streets of Padua calling out, “The Saint is dead. Friar Anthony is dead.”