The Everest Academy Virtue of the Month for December is Vigilance. Vigilance is defined as “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” A saint who exemplifies this virtue well and used it to answer God’s call for his life was St. Anthony of Padua. When he was only 15 years old, St. Anthony, whose name was Fernando at the time, entered the religious order of St. Augustine and was ordained a priest at age 25. One day he was present in the town of Coimbra when the bodies of five Franciscan missionary priests who had been martyred were being brought back to their monastery in Portugal to be buried. As Fernando listened to the heroic stories of these men, God called him to join the Franciscans and give his life for Christ preaching the Gospel to the Muslims. Although it was not an easy decision, the Augustinians finally allowed him to leave. As a Franciscan friar, he took the name of Anthony. He went by ship to Morocco to teach about Jesus and intended to become a martyr himself. But as soon as he arrived, he became so ill that he was in bed for many weeks and had to return home to Portugal. But his ship was in storms and high winds and was blown across the Mediterranean Sea to the coast of Sicily a thousand miles to the east. The Franciscans in Sicily welcomed him and nursed him back to health. While he was there, something happened that changed in his life. During an ordination ceremony, Anthony was unexpectedly asked to give a talk, which he did. And he did such a good job that the friars were amazed. From that day on his reputation as an inspired preacher spread through Italy and France. His quiet life was soon exchanged for that of a public preacher. He traveled throughout Europe for the remainder of his life preaching, and he was such a good speaker people “camped out” to get a chance to hear him. His feast day is celebrated on June 13, the day he died, at the age of 36.