CATHOLIC PATRON SAINT OF LOST THINGS
There are two Saint Anthonies in the Catholic religion. The first Saint Anthony lived in Egypt from 251-356 and was the founder of monachism.
The second, Saint Anthony of Padua (Italy), lived from 1195-1231. Born in Portugal, he was a Franciscan monk and lived in Morocco before settling in Padua. He was known as an eloquent speaker.
Saint Anthony of Padua is the Patron Saint of Padua, of Portugal, and of San Antonio, Texas. Prayer cards manufactured in Italy identify him as the saint of “miracles,” but to most Catholics, he is the Patron Saint associated with the return of lost articles and missing persons. He is petitioned for help in finding almost everything that is lost, from car keys and misplaced papers to a lost job, a lost lover, or s straying partner. People who are regarded as “lost souls” may also be placed in his care. These widespread invocations to Saint Anthony for finding lost things and restoring missing people relate to an incident in which the saint was invoked to find a missing book and the prayer was efficacious; ever since then Saint Anthony has been the Patron of Lost Things.
Because he traveled widely, Saint Anthony is also appealed to for safe travel, especially when ocean voyages are involved. In Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain, he is much beloved by those who work on the sea, and sailors may keep a statue of him on the mast of their ships. His feast day is June 13th.
Born Fernando Martins de Bulhoes in Lisbon, Portugal, he was the scion of a wealthy and noble family. He entered the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon, where he studied scripture and the Latin classics. In 1219, he met five visiting Franciscan monks who were en route to Morocco to preach to the Muslims there. In February 1220, news arrived that the five Franciscans had been martyred in Morocco. Anthony was moved by their deaths and obtained permission from his superiors to join the Franciscan order and travel to Morocco. He later relocatd to Italy, where he showed great aptitude for preaching. He was eventually commissioned by the Vatican to produce a series of “Sermons for Feast Days.” He died in Padua, Italy on June 13th, 1231. In 1946 he was named a Doctor of the Church, a particular distinction given after canonization by the Roman Catholic church.
On holy cards and in church statuary, Saint Anthony is usually pictured as a young tonsured man holding the Christ Child, and he wears the brown robes of his Franciscan order. The Lily is the flower of Saint Anthony, as it is of all saints whom the Catholic Church declares to have died as virgins. he may also be shown with a book, as befitting his role as Doctor of the Church. Alternatively, he is sometimes depicted as an older, bearded Franciscan monk seated or standing alone, with a book.
Although Saint Anthony of Padua is usually depicted in a brown Franciscan robe, holding the infant Jesus in one hand and a lily in the other, in South America, San Antonio is sometimes dressed in blue with a yellow lily and a red heart. On the 3 1/2 inch tall painted soapstone statuette from Peru shown above, the saint dressed in brown on one side and in blue on the other. Quechua Indian charm vials from Peru containing tiny blue-robed St. Anthony statuettes are carried for the return of a lost lover; they also always contain a piece of the coiled jungle vine called “vuelve vuelve” (“come back, come back” in Spanish).
Unfailing Prayer to Saint Anthony
Here is a typical petition, as found on the back of a Saint Anthony holy card:
Unfailing Prayer to Saint AnthonyBlessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.
O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God
and Charity for His creatures made you worthy, when on
earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on
your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in
trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore
of you to obtain for me (request). The answer to my prayer
may require a miracle. Even so, you are the saint of
O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full
of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the
Sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms, and
the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.
Amen. (Say 13 Paters, Aves, and Glorias)