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January 17 - Saint Anthony of Egypt breski1 Patriarch of Monks (251-356) St. Antony was born in Upper Egypt in 251 A.D. Hearing at Mass, "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give …More
January 17 - Saint Anthony of Egypt breski1
Patriarch of Monks
(251-356)

St. Antony was born in Upper Egypt in 251 A.D. Hearing at Mass, "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor," he donated all his great wealth. He then begged an aged hermit to teach him the spiritual life. He also visited various solitaries, emulating the principal virtue of each.
To serve God more perfectly, Antony entered the desert and immured himself in a ruin, building up the door so that none could enter. Here, the fallen angels tempted and assailed him, appearing as various monsters, and even wounding him; but his courage never flagged, and he overcame them by the sign of the Cross.
One night, whilst Antony was in solitude, many demons assailed him. A friend found him, and believing him dead, carried him home. But when Antony came to himself, he returned to his solitude. There, prostrate from weakness, Antony defied the demons, saying, "I fear you not; you cannot separate me from the love of Christ." After more vain assaults, the devils fled, and Christ appeared to Antony in glory.
Antony's only food was bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three, or four days. He wore sackcloth and sheepskin, and often knelt in prayer from sunset to sunrise.
Many souls flocked to Antony for advice; and after twenty years of solitude, he consented to guide them in holiness - thus founding the first monastery. Antony's numerous miracles attracted such multitudes that he fled again into solitude, where he lived by manual labor.
St. Antony passed away in the peace of the Holy Family. St. Athanasius, his biographer, says knowing how he lived, prayed and mortified his desires is a guide to virtue.