January 17

St. Anthony, the Abbott is a secondary patron saint of Paete (The other is St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. However, the village of Santana is up in the mountain where people plant fruit trees, but nobody lives there.)

San Antonio Abad was born in Egypt in the year 251 to a well-to-do family. When his parents died when he was 20, he sold all his inheritance, gave the money to the poor, and went to follow the Lord by living in complete solitude in a deserted fort. Here, he underwent a series of temptations usually associated with the hermit life.

Many people later came to visit him in the desert to listen to his teachings, so he gathered a body of disciples and started the great monastic tradition of the Church. Afterwards, he left his monastery and continued on with his hermit life, living exclusively on gardening and mat-making and the love of God.

San Antonio Abad lived to be 105 years old. His life became the inspiration of many great artists, including Bosch and Grunewald and the French writer Flavier. In Paete, we have an old stone chapel called the "Ermita" (hermitage), a shrine to St. Anthony the Abbott. We celebrate his feastday with great merriment. Usually a stage show and amateur singing contest are held in the evening before. Aand a grand Mass on the feast itself is held inside the chapel with the congregation spilling out into the street.

A Paete legend of St. Anthony goes that during a great conflagration, the village idiot sneaked into the chapel, took the statue of St. Anthony and bathe it in the river. Then a miracle occurred - it rained and the fire was suddenly extinguished.

Back to previous page Read next section
Go Back Next