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A miracle story from St Anthony of Padua

Best known as a faithful intercessor for lost items, St Anthony of Padua was a miracle-worker and a great preacher and his feast day is this month on June 13, says Marriage & Family Life Co-ordinator, Antonia Braithwaite, in her Faith in the Home column.

St Anthony used a mule to prove the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. A rich merchant named Bononillo refused to believe that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist and would mock those who believed this. St Anthony tried to convince this wealthy man but discovered that he was as stubborn as a mule. So one day the Saint challenged Bononillo; “Would you believe in the truth of the Blessed Sacrament if your mule adored the Body of Christ in the Eucharist?”

Bononillo agreed; the mule was to be brought to the town square three days later where St Anthony stood holding the Eucharist in a monstrance, and near him was heaped a pile of hay for the donkey to eat. To ensure that he would win, Bononillo also decide to starve the mule until the day arrived.

Would the starved mule even notice the Eucharist, or would he go straight for the hay?

St Anthony himself had also fasted for three days before the meeting and the entire town was gathered to watch what would happen.

Defying all odds, the famished mule turned his head away from the hay and walked over to St Anthony and, to everyone’s astonishment, he bent his front legs and knelt in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

Bonoillo saw this miracle, and he also threw himself to his knees before the Eucharist and amended his ways.

This miracle was a gift from God in response to St Anthony’s prayers, as a way of affirming the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and strengthening our faith.

St Anthony encourages us not to doubt the words of Jesus who said “This is my body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). Receive His words in faith, for since He is the truth, He cannot lie.

Pictured above is Anton van Dyck’s painting of the Miracle of the host and the mule.