A Novena to Saint Anthony to Find Lost Articles

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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.

Significance of the Novena

This prayer, like many in the Catholic faith, comes in the form of what's called a novena, a series of prayers that are said for nine days in a row.

The number nine holds great significance to the faithful. This quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia explains why:

“As has been said, the simplest explanation of the Christmas novena is the nine months of Christ in the womb. But for every novena of preparation, as also for every novena of prayer, not only the best explanation but also the best model and example was given by Christ Himself to the Church in the first Pentecost novena. He Himself expressly exhorted the Apostles to make this preparation. And when the young Church had faithfully persevered for nine full days in it, the Holy Ghost came as the precious fruit of this first Christian novena for the feast of the establishment and foundation of the Church.”

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. 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. Known for his intense preaching, knowledge of scripture, and devotion to the poor and sick, St. Anthony was canonized and beatified in 1232. 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 in his life.

As the story goes, St. Anthony possessed a book of psalms that had tremendous personal value. One of his novices stole the book and fled. St. Anthony of course prayed for it to be found. While on the road, the novice suddenly felt moved to return to the Order and also give back the book of psalms. He did, and he was accepted and forgiven.

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.