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January 17 

Saint of the day:

 Saint Anthony the Abbot, The Great, The Father of Monks

Patron Saint of Amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers;

brush makers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy;

epileptics; ergotism; erysipelas; gravediggers; hermits; hogs; monks;

pigs; relief from pestilence; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds.

Saint Anthony of Egypt’s Story

The life of Anthony will remind many people of Saint Francis of Assisi. At 20, Anthony was so moved by the Gospel message, “Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor” (Mark 10:21b), that he actually did just that with his large inheritance. He is different from Francis in that most of Anthony’s life was spent in solitude. He saw the world completely covered with snares, and gave the Church and the world the witness of solitary asceticism, great personal mortification and prayer. But no saint is antisocial, and Anthony drew many people to himself for spiritual healing and guidance.

At 54, he responded to many requests and founded a sort of monastery of scattered cells. Again, like Francis, he had great fear of “stately buildings and well-laden tables.”

At 60, he hoped to be a martyr in the renewed Roman persecution of 311, fearlessly exposing himself to danger while giving moral and material support to those in prison. At 88, he was fighting the Arian heresy, that massive trauma from which it took the Church centuries to recover. “The mule kicking over the altar” denied the divinity of Christ.

Anthony is associated in art with a T-shaped cross, a pig and a book. The pig and the cross are symbols of his valiant warfare with the devil—the cross his constant means of power over evil spirits, the pig a symbol of the devil himself. The book recalls his preference for “the book of nature” over the printed word. Anthony died in solitude at age 105.








St Anthony requested to be buried secretly in an unmarked grave. Therefore, the exact location of his tomb is unknown. Nevertheless several traditions have arisen about his relics. One tradition holds that his tomb rests directly under St Anthony’s Monastery in Egypt which was built close to where St Anthony had lived as a hermit. A second tradition holds that his tomb was discovered and that some of these relics were transported to France.

Saint Anthony’s Monastery

Zaafarana, Egypt

*The tomb of St Anthony is believed to rest under this monastery as noted above.


Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye (Abbey of Saint Anthony)

38160 Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye, France

*This monastery is located west of the city of Grenoble, France

*Relics of St Anthony are said to have been transferred here around the 11th century.


L’Eglise Saint-Trophime (Church of Saint Trophime)

12 Rue du Cloître

13200 Arles, France

*Some relics of St Anthony are also said to rest in this church.
Monastery of Saint Anthony below


Traditional Song & Blessing:

Sing a song,

Give a blessing,

Receive a little bird!

The Quest of Saint Anthony ...

"To the Men, the Beasts and the Saints"

Stories, Legends, & Traditions:


“St. Anthony’s fire” – tormenting (and yes, fiery!) skin flare (ie, shingles, herpes zoster) – is named after him. His image in Italian stalls protects the sheep, the oxen and all the farm animals. Pane benedetto (“blessed bread”) is distributed on his feast day, January 17th, day of the blessing of the animals here in Italy – and he was Egyptian, not Italian!

St. Anthony Abbot, much venerated throughout Italy, is a hermit-saint who died in the deserts of Egypt on January 17th in the fourth century (not to be confused with St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan saint of the thirteenth century). Legend has it that during his periods of prayer and fasting in the desert, his only companions were the animals. Occasionally, the local people brought him bread. Like most Italian feast days, the Feast of St. Anthony is intertwined with the ancient Roman world. The long period between the winter solstice and summer equinox was replete with festivities and rites of purification, of the animals, the fields, the people – propitious offerings for fertility and regeneration of the cosmos. Today, under the veil of religious feast days, local customs are tied to those ancient rites of fecundity and regeneration. The blessing of domestic animals on the Feast of St. Anthony was considered auspicious, keeping away evil forces from the home and land, bringing fertility, fecundity.

A classic element of the lives of most hermit saints is the continual struggle against tempting and tormenting demons during their periods of isolation. So too in the life of St. Anthony, although he turned the tables! A Sardinian legend has it that during his life there was no fire in the world and the people appealed to St. Anthony, who went to knock on Hell’s gate, accompanied by his little piglet (the hermit’s only companion). The terrified devils – who knew of his powers and considered him invincible – refused to open the door. The piglet, however, squeezed in through a slit and frolicked about the devils’ abode, tormenting them. The desperate devils beseeched St. Anthony to come into Hell to get the pig! As the Saint and the joyful piglet returned to earth, the Saint’s walking stick caught fire and so warmth was brought to earth. St Anthony’s iconographic symbols in art are the walking stick and the piglet and he is the bearer of fire, that is, life.

In fact, the night before his feast, in rural areas, it is still customary to light huge bonfires. The ashes from these bonfires were once considered amulets. Since time immemorial, fire has represented purification, and in this case, the burning of the old year, including all its evils and maladies. In popular culture, St. Anthony is the dominator of fire and the healer of shingles, also known as “St. Anthony’s fire”. In the middle ages, the lard of a pig was used as a salve for shingles, perhaps accounting for the association of St. Anthony with this illness.

For Italians, St. Anthony is the protector of animals. Until a few years ago, farmers were given an image of St. Anthony to hang on their stalls. And even today, all oxen stalls in Umbria are guarded by this saint. When we moved to our farmhouse in 1975, it had been abandoned for 10 years, but St. Anthony was still there, on the wall under cobwebs and a dusty patina.

On his feast day, January 17 (or the closest Sunday to that date), animals of all sorts are brought to the entrance of a local church to receive a blessing. After the blessing, the people and their animals receive the pane benedetto. Here in Assisi, a statue of St. Anthony is located in front of the little Assisi church where all animals are brought for the afternoon blessing. At the foot of the statue is a basket of red bows for each of the larger animals (the bow was too big for the turtle that a little girl brought this year). One year, I took our Newfoundandler, Sheba, a country dog, to be blessed: she was so excited by all the action – and the people, the animal company – that she bounded all over, losing her red bow.
She enjoyed the pane benedetto, though.




Uccelletti ~The little Birds of St. Anthony

You must know that St. Anthony Abbot is one of the most revered saints in Abruzzo,
protector of animals, stables and preservers them from the dangers of fire!
The religious feasts celebrating Saint Anthony are linked to ancient medieval legends,
in particular to the "sacred fire" and the "pig". 

In regards to Saint Anthony's pig there are two legends:
First one:  the Saint became victorious over a demon with whom he was fighting,
Saint Anthony won the battle by turning the demon into a piglet; 

Second: the Saint heals a pig that will follow him everywhere,
which starts the legend that makes Saint Anthony the protector of the animals. 


Sant'Antonio Little Birds


For pasta

  • ground it's finer700 gr of flour 0 or 00
    (00 is a 
    which will make the product lighter. this is an Italian product)

  • 40 g of olive oil

  • 100 gr of white wine

  • 70 gr of milk

  • 16 g of yeast (1 sachet)

  • 1 sachet of vanillin

  • 1 grated lemon peel

  • 2 eggs

  • 200 grams of sugar


For the stuffing

  • 200 gr of cooked apples

  • 300 gr of grape jam

  • 50 g of toasted and chopped almonds, almond four

  • 50 g of dark chocolate

  • 1 grated lemon peel

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 

  • 1 tablespoon of bitter cocoa

  • liqueur to taste

*My filling ...

  • I made a different filling because that is a lot of flavor in the above traditional filling. 

  • 1 cup of almond four

  • 1.5 cups of Warm Blue Berry Jam
    ( I love Stonewall Brand. The Maine Blueberry Jam has whole berries in it)

  • 1 TBSP Vanilla

  • water if needed to thin down

    Really anything can fill the little birds. have fun with the flavors!

1. Prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together
2. Place the flour in a fountain and put all the other ingredients in the center
3. Work until a smooth and homogeneous mixture is obtained, then
    rest for about an hour in a warm cozy spot under plastic wrap and a towel.
    (or even let it rest for a day just keep it in a nice cozy placed wrapped well so it doesn't dry out.) 
4. Roll out the dough with the roll-up machine to a thickness
    of about 3 mm and cut it with a ring of 8 cm of diam.
5. Place a little stuffing in the center of each disc and form the small birds. 
    (don't let the dough dry out)
    Keep the circles under plastic wrap.
6. Bake at 355 ° F for about 20 minutes.


These last two pictures are different ways to make the little birds!


My Birds!

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