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St. Anthony and the mule who knelt down before the Eucharist
St. Anthony of Padua lived during the 13th century and possessed a great zeal for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. One day Saint Anthony heard of a man in Rimini named named Bononillo who did not share the same belief. In fact, Bononillo openly mocked people who believed that Jesus was truly present under the appearances of bread and wine. St. Anthony tried his hardest to convince Bononillo with the proofs of scripture and argument, but discovered that the man was as stubborn as a mule. Then St. Anthony received an inspiration. He challenged the wealthy merchant, “If the mule you ride adored the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, would you believe in the truth of the Blessed Sacrament?” Bononillo agreed, but decided to raise the stakes. Bononillo would starve his mule for three days and then bring it to the town square. Saint Anthony would bring the Blessed Sacrament to that same square. The mule then would be put in front of a pile of hay and St. Anthony would stand a few yards away with the Blessed Sacrament. What happened next would decide the victor.
To prepare for the event, St. Anthony fasted for three days, and Bononillo in turn told everyone in the town. Bononillo was convinced that the mule would think nothing of the Eucharist and ravenously eat the pile of hay.
On the day of the test, Bononillo brought his mule and placed the hay under the mule’s nose. St. Anthony came and stood a distance away with the Holy Eucharist. Defying all odds, the mule turned his head and walked over to Saint Anthony. When the mule was close, the animal bent his front legs and kneeled in adoration! When Bononillo saw this miraculous change of events, he immediately knelt down and professed his belief in the truth of the Real Presence.