This is what a group of scientists and designers started off with: They only had a digital copy of a skull. Their goal was to reconstruct the face of St. Anthony of Padua, just in time for his Feast Day on June 13th.
It was a team effort that included the University of Padua's Anthropology Museum, the Antoniani Studies Center and a 3D tech group. Time was needed, but also patience and precision.
Also known as St. Anthony of Lisbon, the Portuguese Franciscan friar spent the last two years of his life in Italy. He died in 1231 at the early age of 35. Known for his powerful preaching style and his knowledge of the Scriptures, he had the second fastest canonization in history, just a year after his death. He was then proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946.
Worldwide he's called on by faithful to help find lost items.
So the digital reconstruction of his face, roughly 800 years after his passing, isn't just a matter of curiosity. For many, it's also a matter of devotion. Putting a face to a long and moving history in the life of the Catholic Church, that can be traced even to this day: St. Anthony was a famous disciple of St. Francis of Assisi, the same name chosen by Pope Francis, to honor the late Franciscan friar.
The reconstruction will be made public from June 12th to the 22nd next to the Basilica of St. Anthony in the city of Padua.