The Patron Of Missing Persons And Lost Things
I first heard of St. Anthony over twenty years ago now. A friend of mine was a strict Catholic and one day her bicycle was stolen. She went into her local Church and prayed to St Anthony for the return of her bike.
A few days later her bicycle was found. She was out after that on her bike and thought she would pop into the church to thank St Anthony. She lent her bike against the church railings and went inside for a few moments to say a thank you prayer. When she came out her bike was gone.
As I think about this now I am not sure if my friend was telling me a joke or indeed if it was true. It does not really matter – the tale was vivid enough for me to never forget that that St Anthony was the patron Saint of lost things, and seeing a bike parked outside a church the other day I resolved to fill in some of the gaps and do some research on this Saint.
Anthony of Padua, also known as the patron of missing persons and lost things, is a Catholic Saint. Born back in 1195 near Lisbon, he was named Fernando. He came from a wealthy family and was schooled in Lisbon Cathedral School.
At the tender age of 15, he joined Augustinian monastery against the wishes of his family. Since the monastery was in Sao Vicente and close to his native city, frequent visits from friends and relatives became a distraction. He therefore asked for a transfer after two years and moved to Coimbra Holy Cross. This was a learning center and Portugal’s capital of the time. His next eight years at Holy Cross were fully devotional in prayer and study of the Sacred Scripture.
At 26 years of age, Anthony of Padua joined Moroccan Franciscan Order. This was in 1221 and he requested to be sent to the Morocco mission to preach among Moors. Ill health saw to his return to Europe and he later moved to the Italian Romagna where he spent 9 months as a hermit’s chaplain. The saint was modest and would carry lowly duties within the convent and the kitchen. He would then miraculously be called to give a sermon during an ordination ceremony when the priest on duty fell suddenly ill. He humbly refused the call, but would finally agree out of obedience to his superiors.
Saint Anthony spent the last 2 years of his life in Padua hearing confessions, working with the poor and preaching. He died in 1231 on the thirteenth day of June. He died in his chaplain reserved apartment in Arcella. This is a suburb that is within Padua. He died at 36 years of age and received all his last rites before dying. In 1232, he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX. He was later in 1946 declared as Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII. His canonization makes it to the records as the second fastest. Less than a year after his death, he was declared a saint. A basilica was built in his honor in 1963.
Anthony of Padua stands tall among the greatest preachers of the Middle Ages. He is still among the most famous saints to date. Catholics call upon the saint to find their lost possessions hence, he is known as the patron of missing persons and lost things. The saint is sculpted and portrayed holding baby Jesus, a book or a lily. Some of the portraits show him holding all three in his arms.
There are several prayers under the Catholic Church which are dedicated to him. They also call upon his power and intervention in finding the lost people or items. Those who make their prayers to the Saint Anthony often report having found their lost belongings and even lost people.
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