Anthony is a Latin family name as Anthonius which means Priceless One or Highly Praiseworthy
Anthony was born in the year 251 AD in Coma, Egypt to wealthy landowner parents. His parents died when he was twenty years old and left him with wealth and one unmarried sister. He was an illiterate and holy man who had an absolute connection to Divine Truth. He wanted to fulfill the words of our Lord “if thou will be perfect, go, sell what thou has and give to the poor”. So while still a young man, he gave away all his possessions and begged an old hermit to teach him how to live a holy life. He visited a number of hermits and tried to imitate their examples. He retired into the desert, where he lived the life of a hermit for many years. He devoted himself to prayer and penance.
For more than twenty years Anthony was tempted by the devil in the guise of nude beautiful women many times, but he overcame the temptation through prayer and sacrifice. He was inflicted by the devil with boredom, laziness, and the dilution of women and overcame all these through prayer. He moved to an old tomb near his village and there too the devil attacked him with demons in the form of wild beasts who inflicted on him heavy blows which sometimes left him nearly dead.
Many people flocked to him for advice. He finally agreed to guide them in holiness. By so doing, he founded the very first ever monastery, which is why he is called the Father of Monastic life and the Patriarch or Father of monks.
His miracles drew so many people to him that he fled again into the desert, where he lived through hard work and prayer. St Athanasius, who wrote his life story, said that just knowing about the way Anthony lived is a good guide to virtue.
In 305 AD, Anthony founded a religious community of hermits who lived in separate cells. When he sensed his death he was near, he commanded his disciples to give his staff St Macarius of Egypt and died in 356 AD at the age of one hundred and five.
Everyone is called to a particular way of life. St Anthony who is proudly African started the monastic life. May his example through our faith, guide us all into putting our God-given talents into practice. May we never rely on others to always provide for us but rather, to keep motivating and implementing all the good in us. Amen
Happy feast day to all Anthony and Anthonia, gravediggers, and all monks. St Anthony, pray for us. Amen