Suitbert Godfrey Mollinger was born in the Kingdom of Belgium, Providence of Brabant, Common of Campenhout. He was educated in Amsterdam, studied medicine in Naples, Rome, and Genoa, and, later, attended seminary in Ghent. During his term at Ghent, he formed the acquaintance of an American bishop in search of missionary volunteers to the Americas.
In 1854, Mollinger arrived in New York and went on to Latrobe, PA (presumably, to St. Vincent Seminary) and later Ohio. In February 1857, he was ordained a priest and was assigned to a territory in that was then part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh (but which is now a part of the Diocese of Erie) and performed missionary work throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. In 1865, he came to Pittsburgh, established several mission parishes, and eventually became the first pastor of Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in what today is known as the Troy Hill neighborhood of the city on July 4, 1868.
Father Mollinger believed that miraculous healings could occur in his day just as they were performed by Jesus and his apostles. He was a man of strong faith and, in addition to his pastoral duties, would often tend to the physical needs and ailments of 100-150 people on a given day. On the Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) or the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13), Father Mollinger would hold a healing service, which, depending on the year, was attended by 10,000-15,000 pilgrims from across North America and beyond.
Father Mollinger is not only responsible for the design and construction of the beautiful shrine that is Saint Anthony Chapel, but was also the sole proprietor of its vast collection of relics and other treasures, all of which came to pass through the efforts of one individual knowing his purpose in life: to know, love, and serve God.