Originally an Augustinian canon, saint Anthony was inspired by a group of martyred Franciscans in Morocco to join Franciscan Order in Italy, ultimately becoming an eloquent preacher against heresy.
The most common representation of St Anthony of Padua portrays a young friar holding the Holy Child on his right arm, while a Holy Scriptures symbolizes him as one of the most famous preacher of his time, and also the first Doctor in Theology within the Franciscan order.
This concept of St Anthony holding Child Jesus is based on a vision of the Child that the saint had while staying with a nobleman. The man peeked into the room he had provided for Anthony and saw him holding baby Jesus in his arms.
The habit is sometimes pictured as grey, more often as brown. In the 18th century some Franciscans wore blue to mark their advocacy of the Immaculate Conception. The habit always includes a rope belt with three knots tied into the part that hangs down, referencing the Evangelical councils.
The saint might be also be seen preaching to the fish, and often holding a lily stalk, which was given to him by St Joseph. Finally, the representation of St Anthony holding the Monstrance before a mule tells the story of a catharist, who said he would believe in God only if a dumb animal were to prefer the consecrated host to a bundle of feed. Anthony arranged for a mule to be brought forward and given that choice, and of course, the mule went to the Blessed Sacrament and knelt down in adoration.