Saint of the Day – 5 July – St Anthony Mary Zaccaria C.R.S.P. (1502-1539)

Saint of the Day – 5 July – St Anthony Mary Zaccaria C.R.S.P. (1502-1539) – Priest, Founder, Philosopher, Doctor of Medicine/Physician, Renewal of the Forty Hours’ Adoration Devotion, Preacher, Administrator, one of the  early leader of the Counter Reformation.  Founder of the The Clerics Regular of St Paul (the Barnabites) and the Angelic Sisters of St Paul. 7_5_Saint_-Anthony_-Mary_Zaccaria-659-x-517

Today we celebrate the life of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria.   A renowned preacher and promoter of Eucharistic Adoration, he founded the order of priests now known as the Barnabites.

In 2001, the future Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, wrote the preface for a book on St Anthony Mary Zaccaria, praising the saint as “one of the great figures of Catholic reform in the 1500s,” who was involved “in the renewal of Christian life in an era of profound crisis.”   “St Anthony”, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “deserves to be rediscovered” as “an authentic man of God and of the Church, a man burning with zeal, a demanding forger of consciences, a true leader able to convert and lead others to good.”Header - Sebastiano del Piombo, Portrait of Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria, 1537

Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born into an Italian family of nobility in Cremona during 1502.   His father Lazzaro died shortly after Anthony’s birth and his mother Antonietta – though only 18 years old – chose not to marry again, preferring to devote herself to charitable works and her son’s education.   Antonietta’s son took after her in devotion to God and generosity toward the poor.   He studied Latin and Greek with tutors in his youth and was afterward sent to Pavia to study philosophy.   He went on to study medicine at the University of Padua, earning his degree at age 22 and returning to Cremona.

Despite his noble background and secular profession, the young doctor had no intention of either marrying or accumulating wealth.   While caring for the physical conditions of his patients, he also encouraged them to find spiritual healing through repentance and the sacraments.   He also taught catechism to children, and went on to participate in the religious formation of young adults.   He eventually decided to withdraw from the practice of medicine and with the encouragement of his spiritual director, he began to study for the priesthood.

Ordained a priest at age 26, Anthony is experienced a miraculous occurrence during his first Mass, being surrounded by a supernatural light and a multitude of angels during the consecration of the Eucharist.   Contemporary witnesses marvelled at the event and testified to it after his anthony - ordination altar

Church life in Cremona had suffered decline in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The new priest encountered widespread ignorance and religious indifference among laypersons, while many of the clergy were either weak or corrupt.   In these dire circumstances, Anthony Mary Zaccaria devoted his life to proclaiming the truths of the Gospel both clearly and charitably.   Within two years, his eloquent preaching and tireless pastoral care is said to have changed the moral character of the city dramatically.

In 1530, Anthony moved to Milan, where a similar spirit of corruption and religious neglect prevailed.   There, he decided to form a priestly society, the Clerics Regular of St. Paul.   Inspired by the apostle’s life and writings, the order was founded on a vision of humility, asceticism, poverty, and preaching.   After the founder’s death, they were entrusted with a prominent church named for St Barnabas and became commonly known as the “Barnabites.”Saint_Anthony_Mary_Zaccaria

St Anthony also founded a women’s religious order, the Angelic Sisters of St Paul and an apostolate, the Laity of St Paul, geared toward the sanctification of those outside the priesthood and religious life.   He pioneered the “40 Hours” devotion, involving continuous prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.beautiful holy eucharist - st anthony mary zaccaria

In 1539, Anthony became seriously ill and returned to his mother’s house in Cremona. The founder of the Clerics Regular of St Paul died on 5 July during the liturgical octave of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, at the age of only 36.

Nearly three decades after his death, St Anthony Mary Zaccaria’s body was found to be incorrupt.   He was beatified by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1849 and declared a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.   His body is now enshrined at the Church of St Barnabas in Milan, Italy.   More about St Anthony and all about the 40 hour devotion, here:

church of st barnabas
Church of St Barnabas, Rome
saint-zacharia tomb
Tomb of St Anthony Mary Zaccaria
Altar and Tomb
v lg - st anthony mary zaccaria
St Anthony Mary Zaccaria


Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. This Site is placed under the Patronage of my many favourite Saints and especially, St Paul. "For the Saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and I pray all those who visit here will be abundantly blessed. Pax et bonum! 🙏

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s