I’ve just been reading about St. Anthony of Padua on this, his feast day. While I have known many facts about this revered saint, (primarily because of having served in an Italian parish for eight years) stories at http://www.franciscanmedia.org piqued my interest in going deeper. Most of what I read was familiar: the fact that he was born in Portugal rather than Italy, his stint in the Augustinian religious order where his studies gifted him with theological and scriptural prowess before he joined the Franciscan friars, the fact that he was a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi, etc. There is so much to admire about this saint whose life took many twists and turns in the brief 35 years before his death in 1231. Even Wikipedia was a source for new learnings.
The one thing that most everyone knows about St. Anthony is his knack of finding lost things, even to this day for all of us, but today was the first time I read what seems to be the original story of this gift. (Remember that this came from Wikipedia but still…) The incident occurred in Bologna and concerned a favorite book of Psalms belonging to Anthony. It was important to him because of his notes and comments included there which he used to teach his students. It seems that a novice who left the order took it with him. When he noticed that it was missing, Anthony prayed that it would be returned or found and his prayer was answered when the thief was moved to return it. The book is said to be preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna.
Mystery solved! And aren’t we all grateful for Anthony’s power of prayer!