St. Anthony of Egypt’s parents died when he was around 20 years old leaving him 300 acres of land. Inspired by Matthew 19:21, he left church and gave away everything he owned minus some money for his sister. He survived for 20 years in a sealed room to which friends brought bread.

People visited him for healing. They broke into his room finally. He emerged calm and collected. His efforts created the first monastic community with hermits living separately, yet gathering for prayer. Anthony addressed these groups, but became so popular he went deep into the Saracen desert to finish his life in solitude, fasting, and devotion to God through manual labor.

Born in Heracleus, Egypt in 251, Anthony died in 356 living into his hundreds with vigor and good health that he attributed to living by faith in complete commitment to God. His feast day is Jan. 17.