A Novena to St. Anthony to Find Lost Articles

Religious statue
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Everyone loses or misplaces things from time to time. When this happens, Catholics believe that invoking a prayer to St. Anthony of Padua will ensure the item's safe return.

St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon in 1195 and died in Padua in 1231 at the age of 35. He was born Fernando de Bulhom, the only son of Don Martinho de Bulhom, a knight in the court of King Alfonso II of Portugal. Instead of taking over from his father as head of the family castle, Fernando decided instead, at the age of 15, to become a priest. He was ordained in the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at the age of 25. Inspired by the life of St. Francis of Assisi, he would eventually become a Franciscan reformer and was known for his intense preaching, knowledge of Scripture, and devotion to the poor and sick. St. Anthony was canonized and beatified in 1232.

His attributes—the symbols or emblems by which you can recognize a saint in artwork and other depictions—include books, bread, the Infant Jesus, lilies, fish, and a flaming heart. He is also considered the patron of lost souls, amputees, fishermen, shipwrecks, mariners, and just about any need.

Patron Saint of Lost Items

St. Anthony of Padua is also the patron saint of lost items. He is invoked thousands—maybe even millions—of times daily to help people find things that they have misplaced. The reason why St. Anthony is so often called upon for help in finding lost or stolen items can be traced back to an incident that took place during his stay at the Franciscan monastery at Montpellier.

There, St. Anthony was tasked with teaching theology to the novices. One of these young men, tired of the monastic life, decided to leave the monastery, taking with him a book of psalms belonging to St. Anthony. This book was of tremendous value to the saint, as he had copied it and annotated it himself. St. Anthony not only prayed for the book to be returned to him but also prayed for God to have mercy on the novice's soul.

The story goes that, while on the road, the novice encountered a demon who threatened to kill him if the youth did not return to the monastery. The novice retraced his steps, prostrated himself at St. Anthony's feet, returned the book, and begged forgiveness. St. Anthony forgave him, and the youth was accepted back into the fold.

Novena to St. Anthony

This novena to St. Anthony to find a lost article also reminds believers that the most important goods are spiritual.

"St. Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find [name the item] which has been lost. At least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss.
"To this favor, I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen."