St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power. The story is told that when he was fifteen, he asked to join the Dominican order. He looked young, and he was small. The prior studied him for a moment and then said, "I'll accept you when you know 'Gratian's Decree' by heart." "Gratian's Decree" was a book, several hundred pages long. So, in other words, the prior was telling Antoninus "no."
But Antoninus accepted the challenge. One year later he returned. It would be hard to describe the prior's amazement when he found that Antoninus had memorized the whole decree! Needless to say, he was accepted at once. (It was not his ability to memorize that changed the prior's mind, though. It was because he had proved he was serious about his vocation.)
Though just sixteen, Antoninus continued to surprise everyone by the way he lived the life of his order. As he grew older, he was given one important position after another. He was a good influence on his fellow Dominicans. They loved and respected him. This is proved powerfully in the life of Blessed Anthony Neyrot whose feast is April 10.
In March, 1446, Antoninus became the archbishop of Florence, Italy. "The father of the poor" was the name given this saint. He never refused to help anyone. When he had no more money, he would give his clothes, his shoes, his furniture or his one mule. Many times this mule was sold to help someone. Then it would be bought back for him by wealthy citizens. Of course, he would sell it again to help someone else!
Often St. Antoninus would say, "A successor of the apostles should not own anything except the wealth of virtue." St. Antoninus died in 1459. He was proclaimed a saint in 1523.
"A successor of the apostles should not own anything except the wealth of virtue."-St. Antoninus