Anthony was born at Cremona, Lombardy in Italy. When he was two years old, his father Lazzaro died. At that time his mother Antonia Pescorali was only eighteen. She encouraged the special love Anthony felt for the sufferings of poor people and sent her son to the University of Padua to study medicine so he could become a doctor. He was only twenty-two when he graduated.
The young doctor was very successful and spent time working among the poor in Cremona. Yet he did not feel satisfied and felt a strong wish to join the religious life. He decided to become a priest and gave everything he owned to his mother. Anthony began his religious studies. He also continued to care for the sick, to comfort and inspire the dying.
He started to use all his spare moments to read and think about the letters of St. Paul in the Bible. He had read the life of the great apostle Paul many times, and had given much thought to his virtues. Now Anthony was burning with a strong desire to become a saint and to bring everyone to Jesus so he taught Catechism explaining the mysteries of the Catholic faith.
After he was ordained a priest, St. Anthony Mary moved to the big city of Milan as a great number of people could use his help there. He also started an order of priests, the Clerks Regular of St. Paul. People call them "Barnabites". He also started another order for women called the Angelics of Saint Paul.
In imitation of the apostle Paul, St. Anthony and his orders preached everywhere and helped people to develop good values. They repeated the words and sentences of Paul. They explained Paul's message with words that were easy to understand. The people loved and were grateful for this. St. Anthony also had a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged people to receive Holy Communion often. In fact, he started the practice of the Forty Hours Devotion.
While on a peace mission, Anthony fell ill. St. Anthony Mary was only thirty-seven when he died at his mother's house at Cremona on July 5, 1539.
"Since we have chosen such a great apostle Paul as our guide and father and claim to follow him, we should try to put his teaching and example into practice in our lives."- St. Anthony (to the Barnabites)