St. Anthony of Padua, Patron Saint of Portugal, was born in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal and the next city on our 4th Annual Ride for Sight. St. Anthony lived 800 years ago with his final years spent in and around Padua. For us, it was another case of good timing as mass began shortly after our arrival to tour St. Anthony Church. And there was plenty to pray for including the pending merger back in Memphis between Southern Eye Associates and Eye Specialty Group. This was one of multiple Ride sites that we prayed for guidance on this life changing decision. St. Anthony Church is a beautiful tribute to this very holy man and seemed as wide as it is long, to create an intimate environment to pray to St. Anthony. It is located around the corner from the Lisbon Cathedral, the oldest church in Lisbon and site of St. Anthony’s miraculous rebuke of the devil. Nonetheless, as a good Texan, I could not help but wonder if St. Anthony might feel more inspired in San Antonio.
The rest of our time in Lisbon included a tour of massive St. George Castel and its beautiful hilltop views of this harbor community. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to 1200 BC. It is well preserved, especially since it was a neutral country during WWII. We also enjoyed some tasty local food and experienced our first nose of Ermelinda, a local favorite green wine. Lisbon is wonderful with very friendly people, but our pondering hearts and feelings of anticipation still wander towards Fatima. We will be there soon.