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Why St. Anthony Is Invoked for
Lost & Mislaid Things

Joseph A. Keller
Many persons turn to St. Anthony of Padua for help when they misplace or lose something. Invariably he comes to their aid. Here is the story from his life that explains how he came to be the Saint to invoke for finding lost and mislaid things.

During his stay at the Franciscan monastery at Montpellier, St. Anthony was not only engaged in preaching, but also in teaching theology to his younger brethren. It was here that a most extraordinary adventure took place with one of his novices.

St. Anthony of Padua or of Lisbon

St Anthony of Padua or of Lisbon 1195-1231

The latter, weary of the monastic life, suddenly left the monastery, taking with him a book of psalms, copied and annotated by the Saint for the benefit of his pupils.

The loss of this book was deeply felt by St. Anthony, as books at that time were only laboriously copied by hand, the art of printing being unknown, and an ordinary book costing a goodly amount.

For example, in the year 1240 the monks at Camaldoli paid as much as 200 gold ducats for an illuminated missal. Whole fortunes sometimes were spent in the purchase of a single book.

What pained the Saint even more than the loss of a work so invaluable to him was the outrage committed against God and the spiritual danger threatening the culprit.

The Saint, with his usual trust in God, at once betook himself to prayer, humbly imploring the Divine Providence on the unhappy youth and at the same time asking for the restitution of his book. His prayer was barely finished before it was heard.

Just at that moment, as the thief was about to cross a bridge, the Devil, in the shape of a hideous black giant, appeared before him with an axe in his hand, threatening at once to kill him and trample him underfoot if he did not immediately retrace his steps. The novice, terrified at the sight of the monster, hastened to obey, and falling at the feet of the servant of God, not only gave back the book, but implored forgiveness, begging to be readmitted into the monastery.

The Saint, full of gratitude to God, readily forgave the culprit, warning him at the same time against the snares of the Devil and encouraging him to persevere in his holy vocation. The stolen book was for years preserved in the Franciscan monastery at Bologna.

Here is a simple little prayer used by many persons when they need to find a lost item:

      St. Anthony, St. Anthony,
      Please come down.
      Something is lost
      And can't be found.

A longer prayer follows:

Dear St. Anthony, You are the Patron of the poor and the helper of all who seek lost articles. Help me to find what I have lost, (name item lost) so that I will be able to make better use of the time that I will gain for God's greater honor and glory. Grant your gracious aid to all people who seek what they have lost — especially those who seek to regain God's grace. Amen.

St Anthony of Padua or of Lisbon


Joseph A Keller, Miracles of Saint Anthony of Padua
Aeterna Press, 2015, 1st printing 1899, pp. 20-22.
Posted May 4, 2019