The Baby Jesus

By 1231, the many journeys he had made and the many illnesses he had suffered had taken their toll. Anthony was suffering from dropsy, and his strength had all but failed him. All throughout Lent of 1231 he preached to ever increasing crowds in Padua, but his preaching and the endless hours of confessions left him prostrate. Around this time, Anthony had a premonition of his approaching death. The friars and Count Tiso invited Anthony to go to a hermitage in Camposampiero, a town not far from Padua, so that he might recover his strength. Tiso had been one of the unscrupulous politicians seen in the previous account, but after hearing Anthony preach, he had converted and had donated the plot of land to the friars upon which the hermitage at Camposampiero was built.

The ground was damp at this time of year, and it aggravated Anthony’s illness. This problem was solved when the friars noticed Anthony admire an immense walnut tree on the property. They told Tiso about it, and he had a small tree house built in the walnut tree for Anthony.

One night Count Tiso was passing by Anthony’s room when he was attracted by a powerful light. At first he thought that it must be a fire, and so he burst into the room. There he saw Anthony in ecstasy embracing the Baby Jesus. Anthony begged Tiso not to tell anyone about what he had seen, and Tiso respected the Saint’s wishes until after his death.