Dominican Priest and Martyr: 1425-1460
+ Antoine was born in the Piedmont Region of Italy.
+ He entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) as a young man and was a student of Saint Antoninus, a prominent Dominican teacher who later served as archbishop of Florence.
+ Antoine was restless in religious life and struggled to find peace with his vocation. After living in several different Dominican houses, he was kidnapped when Moorish pirates attacked a ship on which Antoine was traveling and he was taken to Tunis in North Africa.
+ Although the Muslim caliph seems to have approved of Antoine initially, his arrogance alienated his captors and he lost the favor of the caliph. After some time, in the hopes of gaining his freedom, Antoine denied the Christian faith and married a high-ranking Muslim woman.
+ Years later, when news of the death of Saint Antoninus reached Antoine, he was inspired to re-affirm his faith in Christ, despite knowing that this would lead to his death. Finding another Dominican priest, Antoine confessed his sins and, on Palm Sunday 1460, he publicly asked for forgiveness and to be readmitted to the Dominican Order.
+ On Holy Thursday, Antoine appeared before the caliph wearing his Dominican habit and publicly professed that he was a Christian. The caliph ordered him to be stoned to death.
+ Blessed Antoine Neyrot was beatified in 1767.
It was during Antoine’s years in the Priory of San Marco in Florence, under the direction of Saint Antoninus, that another member of the community—the artist Blessed John of Fiesole (better known as “Fra Angelico”)—painted the celebrated frescoes of San Marco.
“God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.”—Ephesians 2:4-6
O God, who mercifully brought Blessed Anthony back to the Light of Truth, and made him a glorious Martyr, grant, through his intercession, that we may always be faithful in the performance of good works. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Adapted from the prayer honoring Blessed Anthony Neyrot provided in Short Lives of the Dominican Saints by “A Sister of the Congregation of Saint Catherine of Siena” )
Saint profiles prepared by Silas Henderson