The History of St. Anthony’s Charities

The History of St. Anthony’s Charities

The History of St. Anthony’s Charities

From charity to developement

Our history and traditions date back to 1898, the year in which the friars of the Basilica of St. Anthony instituted the first charitable organisation to distribute bread, firewood and clothing to the poor.

Charity beyond national borders

Gradually, a new idea of charity began to evolve among the friars, a charity aimed at relieving victims of natural disasters or victims of social and political crises. This charity extends beyond national borders. Immediate, simple assistance is gradually replaced by development projects.

The Birth of St. Anthony’s Charities

Slowly, it became necessary to create a single charitable organisation capable of organising numerous charitable projects, both of a national and international character. This took place in the mid-1970s, and the first intervention by St. Anthony’s Charities was to relieve victims of the Friuli earthquake in northern Italy.

Thousands charitable projects

Since then over 400 projects have been completed, first in Italy and then, tanks to networks of solidarity created by the missionaries, in the whole world. The first countries to benefit from the charitable, solidarity and development projects of St. Anthony’s Charities were:

  • Africa (Uganda, Ghana)
  • Asia ( Thailand, Korea, India, The Philippines)
  • Latin America
  • Poland

Tommy’s Miracle

You may not be aware that the origins of St. Anthony’s Charities lies in a miracle performed through the intercession of St. Anthony of Padua. St. Anthony’s Bread, in fact, was inspired by the miracle of the resurrection of Tommy, a 20 month-old child who was left to play by himself, and who was later found drowned by his mother in a tub of water.

The distraught mother invoked the Saint, and in her desperate prayer vowed that, if her child were revived, she would donate her child’s weight in bread to the poor. Her child revived miraculously, and in this way the tradition of ‘pondus pueri’ arose. This is a prayer in which parents, in exchange for protection for their children, promised the Saint their children’s weight in bread.

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