Saint Anthony is commonly called ‘the Abbot’, or Anthony ‘of Egypt’, where he retreated to the wilderness as a young man to live completely devoted to God and His Christ. His eponym as the ‘Abbot’ is given to him as the founder of that perfect and narrow living out of the imitation of Christ now known as monastic life, particularly in its eremitical, or ‘hermit’, form.

As young man of 18, Anthony had a deep conversion upon hearing Christ’s counsel, ‘Go, sell what you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me…’, and an even deeper one when he subsequently heard ‘Be ye not solicitous for the morrow…’.

Anthony sold everything, entrusted his sister to a group of virgins, and went into the desert, where he remained for the rest of his long life (dying at the age of 103, signifying the healthy aspects of an ascetical and ordered existence) praying, working, forming the foundational principle of all religious life, indeed, the life of every Christian in whatever path:  ‘ora et labora’, pray and work, and leave the rest up to God.

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