Antonio Baldinucci was born in Florence (Tuscany, Italy), the son of a writer and artist and his wife. The fifth of five sons, Antonio’s parents had promised the Lord prior to his birth that if they produced a son, they would devote his life to Saint Anthony of Padua (whose intercession had cured a family member of serious illness). When Antonio was born, he was raised in the faith, with the intention of his becoming a priest and serving God as promised by his parents.
Antonio embraced his parents’ wishes with the zeal of one on fire for the Lord. Rather than rebel, as we might expect from a teenage boy, Antonio instead gravitated to the holy, threw himself into his studies, and lived a pious life. At age eleven, he began his studies with the Jesuits at San Giovannino, but following his eldest brother’s entrance into the Dominican Order, expressed his wish to follow. The Dominicans, however, refused Antonio’s admission, due to his poor health. Instead, his father recommended that he embark on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, to attempt to discern God’s plan for his life. Under the spiritual direction of a Jesuit, Antonio was led to seek admission to the Society of Jesus, and at the age of 16, began his novitiate in Rome.
Returning to Rome, Antonio would spend his afternoons in public places, preaching, and drawing many to the Church. He was ordained at age 30, and immediately applied to be sent overseas as a missionary, but again was refused. Instead, Antonio was sent to Frascati, south of Rome, where part of his duties was to provide missions to the poor surrounding towns and villages in the area. Antonio embraced this task with zeal, working among the poor and uneducated for the remainder of his life. Looking to Saint Peter Claver as a model, Antonio traveled barefoot to the towns and villages, regardless of weather. He carried all he needed in a bag on his back, and walked with a pilgrim staff. When asked why he walked barefoot, he replied: “That God may be moved by my sufferings to touch the hearts of my hearers.”
Blessed Antonio participated in missions for over 20 years, during that time giving 448 missions in 30 dioceses (an average of 22 each year). Despite this schedule, he found the time to write down many of his sermons, as well as maintain correspondence with those who needed spiritual direction and support. To do so, he maintained a rigorous schedule of work, prayer, and penance, sleeping little (about three hours each night on a bed of planks), and fasting constantly. While he had received a special dispensation from Pope Clement XI to not offer daily Mass due to his schedule, he refused to accept it, reading the Liturgy daily.
“Show yourself to be a Mother.” After asking for the Last Sacraments, and despite the fact that he was barely able to speak, Antonio continued to recite the prayer, “Jesus and Mary, my hope,” until his death. Blessed Antonio was buried in the chapel of San Giovanni in Florence.
I do not know what to ask you.
You alone know my real needs,
and you love me more
than I even know how to love.
Enable me to discern my true needs
which are hidden from me.
I ask for neither cross nor consolation;
I wait in patience for you.
My heart is open to you.
For your great mercy's sake,
come to me and help me.
Put your mark on me and heal me,
cast me down and raise me up.
Silently I adore your holy will
and your inscrutable ways.
I offer myself in sacrifice to you
and put all my trust in you.
I desire only to do your will.
Teach me how to pray
and pray in me, yourself.
Year 2: Day 311 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith and obedience to discern the Will of the Lord; Courage to follow it.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of a marriage (A); Peace and tolerance in a family, support for those with Parkinson’s Disease (M); For the restoration of a daughter’s marriage, end to debt (S); Employment and continued strength (K); Successful examinations for a son (J); Employment and blessings of a child (S); Employment and financial security (F); Successful work placement, continued health (A); Grace and healing for a family (P); Healing of a father (M); Academic success for son, employment for husband and brother (B); Freedom from anxiety and panic attacks (R); Health and healing in preparation for surgery (C); Healing of a chronic illness (P); Safety of a family during storms (A); Successful home ownership (P); Healing of a marriage (M); Employment for a husband, blessings for a marriage (E); Successful examinations for a daughter, healing of a relationships (V); Blessing for a family (V); Healing of baby girl M and all children suffering (M); Special intentions (R); Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K).