Saint of the Day – 10 May – Saint Antoninus of Florence OP (1389-1459) Archbishop of Florence, Dominican Priest and Friar, Confessor, Spiritual Director, Apostle of Mercy, Theologian, Writer, Reformer, Prior of the Order. Known as “Antoninus the Counsellor.”
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Florence, the Bishop St Antoninus, of the Order of Preachers, renowned for holiness and learning.”
Saint Antoninus, Bishop and Confessor
By Abbot Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
“Antoninus was born at Florence, of respectable parents. He gave great promise, even when quite a child, of his later sanctity. Having at the age of sixteen, entered the Religious Order of Friars Preachers, he at once became an object of admiration, by the practice of the highest virtues. He declared ceaseless war against idleness. After taking a short sleep at night, he was the first at the Office of Matins; which over, he spent the remainder of the night in prayer, or reading, or writing. If at times, he felt himself oppressed with unwelcome sleep, owing to fatigue, he would lean his head, for a while, against the wall and then, shaking off the drowsiness, he resumed his holy vigils with renewed earnestness.
Being a most rigid observer of Religious discipline, he never ate flesh-meat, save in the case of severe illness. His bed was the ground, or a naked board. He always wore a hair shirt, and sometimes an iron girdle next to his skin. He observed the strictest chastity during his whole life. Such was his prudence in giving counsel, that he went under the name of Antoninus the Counsellor. He so excelled in humility, that, even when Prior and Provincial, he used to fulfil, with the utmost self-abjection, the lowest duties of the Monastery.
He was made Archbishop of Florence by Pope Eugenius the Fourth. Great was his reluctance to accept such a dignity: nor would he have consented, had it not been out of fear of incurring the spiritual penalties, wherewith he was threatened by the Pope.
It would be difficult to describe the prudence, piety, charity, meekness and apostolic zeal, wherewith he discharged his Episcopal Office. He learned almost all the sciences to perfection and, what is surprising, he accomplished this by his own extraordinary talent, without having any master to teach him.
Finally, after many labours and after having published several learned books, he fell sick. Having received the Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction, embracing the Crucifix, he joyfully welcomed death, on the sixth of the Nones of May (2 May), in the year 1459. He was illustrious for the miracles which he wrought during his life, as also for those, which followed after his death. He was Canonised by Pope Adrian the Sixth, in the year of our Lord 1523.