Our friars at the Heilige Dreifaltigkeitn Friary in Vienna, Austria, have a great devotion to St. Anthony of Padua There are currently six friars in the community and the faithful regularly attend the devotions they offer.
About ten years ago, the friars decided to erect a new statue of St. Anthony in the inner courtyard of the friary.
They eventually reached out to Ján LESŇÁK, an artist from Slovakia. He is the brother of Friar Tomáš LESŇÁK, the Assistant General for the Foederatio Europae Mediae et Orientalis (FEMO). The same artist had also created a statue of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe for the General Curia in Rome.
Once the friars in Vienna chose a model, the yearlong process of making the bronze statue got underway. After the statue was designed, a negative form was created in the artist’s workshop. Using an elaborate process, the bronze statue was cast in different sections. Then, the sections were assembled and the completed statue was shipped off to Vienna in late August of 2022. It was erected in the inner courtyard and presented to the public at a festive event on September 25, 2022. Since then, the faithful have had an episode from the life of St. Anthony set before their eyes in a concrete way. The sculpture depicts St. Anthony converting a heretic in Rimini, Italy. The heretic became convinced of the existence of God after seeing his hungry donkey leave its oats and kneel before the monstrance.
The friars invited the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, to participate in the celebration on September 25. The Minister General presided over the Mass, attended by three Assistants General who came with him from Rome. Many friars from the friaries in Austria were present, as were more than two hundred faithful. The Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany, Friar Andreas MURK, gave the homily.
After the Mass, but before the lunch that was set out for everyone, Friar Dariusz ZAJĄC, the Custos of the Provincial Custody of St. Leopold and St. Nicolas of Flüe in Austria-Switzerland, invited the faithful to go in procession to the inner courtyard of the friary, where the statue waited, covered under a cloth. There was great applause when the artist himself unveiled the statue, which was then blessed by Friar Carlos. The Guardian, Friar Thomas MANALIL, thanked everyone for coming, especially the members of the Missione Cattolica Italiana, who have been involved with our friary for some time.
For the friars, the day ended with Evening Prayer in common and a joyful, fraternal dinner.
Friar Andreas MURK