ROME — The University of St. Anthony of Padua’s Anthropology Museum, together with a team of international forensic researchers, has attempted to reconstruct the face of St. Anthony using only a digital copy of his skull.
Using the latest 3-D technology, the researchers worked to recreate the saint’s face, which they say is “one of the most faithful reconstructions of the face of St. Anthony.”
The face was presented on June 10 at a congress in Padua with archeologist Luca Bezzi, who created the three-dimensional image of the saint’s face, and the director of the Center for St. Anthony Studies, Franciscan Friar Luciano Bertazzo, who provided all of the relevant source material from the era.
3-D designer Cicero Morales of the University of Sao Paolo, renowned for his work in archeological facial reconstruction, also took part in the presentation.
The Brazilian expert was asked to reconstruct the saint’s face knowing only that the skull belonged to a 36-year-old male.
“At each step, I asked myself, 'Who was that man?' When I found out, I was speechless, literally amazed. Although I am not religious, I felt a huge responsibility. Millions of people in the world would be able to see the face of their saint,” Morales said.
The face of St. Anthony will be revealed to the public June 12-22 at the basilica dedicated to the saint in Padua, where his relics are also venerated.
Born in Lisbon on Aug. 15, 1195, St. Anthony joined the Augustinians in 1210 but left to join the Franciscans 10 years later. He took part in the order’s general chapter in Assisi in 1221 and personally met St. Francis.
He died at the convent of Arcella in Padua, Italy, on June 13, 1231.
Believed to be the second fastest canonization in history, he was declared a saint just one year after his death, in May 1232.
In 1946, Pope Pius XII proclaimed him a doctor of the Church.