Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal near the end of the twelfth century. He joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, but, shortly after ordination to the priesthood, transferred to the Friars Minor to devote himself to spreading the Faith among African peoples. He had his greatest success, however, preaching in France and Italy and converting heretics. He was the first member of his Order to teach theology to his brethren. His sermons are notable for their learning and gentleness. Saint Anthony died at Padua in 1231. From Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours
Tony, Tony, look around! Something’s lost and must be found!
St. Anthony of Padua, one of the greatest preachers of his time, is now invoked as the patron saint of lost items. The story goes that, after entering the monastery, another monk stole something of Anthony’s. Anthony thought it lost forever, but prayed that the item might be restored to him. Eventually, the monk who had stolen it, who had subsequently lost his faith and left the monastery, returned it to him and, having re-found his faith, returned to the life of the Order. So, St. Anthony became the patron of lost items.
Every Catholic probably has at least one story of an item they lost then found after praying for the help of St. Anthony. It has happened to me several times. I recall once I had lost an important document. I had no idea where it was. My family was out and about in the van, running errands. We needed air for our tires, so we stopped at a gas station and went to the air tank to fill our tires with air. As I started filling each tire up, I said a prayer to St. Anthony, asking for his help in finding this important lost document. Well, before I could even finish filling the tires with air, once of my daughters announced from inside the van that she had found it. Thank you, St. Anthony!
While it’s marvelous to turn to St. Anthony for help in finding lost items, it’s important to remember him for his great preaching and teaching. One way to honor St. Anthony today might be to take some time to read the Scriptures, read a section from the Catechism, or read one of his sermons, which can be found here:
St. Anthony, pray for us!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.