Perpetual Novena to St. Anthony
In 1912, Father Paul Wattson, Founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, had just installed a large statue of St. Anthony of Padua near the altar in St. Francis Chapel. As he stood to admire the beautiful statue, Fr. Paul was handed a letter from a mother begging the Friars to pray for the health of her gravely ill baby named Anthony. "I immediately knelt before this statue of St. Anthony with the Divine Infant in his arms and besought the Wonder-Worker of seven centuries to intercede for baby Anthony's life." Fr. Paul later wrote in his journal that he and the other Friars prayed to St. Anthony every evening asking for intercession. About two weeks later, the mother wrote again, this time saying her child had miraculously recovered. She included a small donation in gratitude. From that time on, Fr. Paul and other Friars would pray every evening at the statue of St. Anthony. Word spread of the Friars' perpetual prayers and about St. Anthony's Corner in St. Francis Chapel at Graymoor, and more petitions arrived.
For almost 100 years, those in need have sent hundreds of thousands of prayer requests to Graymoor asking the Friars to pray for the intercession of St. Anthony on their behalf.