Growing up in an Italian household, I heard the phrase “St. Anthony will help you find it!” so many times it was ingrained in me pretty much from birth! It didn’t matter what the “it” was, whether an object of little monetary value or an item more sentimental, my mother always had utmost trust and belief that if we prayed to the Patron Saint of Lost Things, we’d find whatever we kids had misplaced. More often than not, she was right. And I’d be lying if I said I still don’t call on him when I misplace my everyday items. If not for St. Anthony, I might never find my car keys!
My mom has always had a close relationship with St. Anthony, also the Patron Saint of Padova (Padua in English), Italy and she has passed that on. We were excited to visit his own church and resting place in Italy.
A few years ago, on a return trip to our native Calabria, my mother, sister and I decided to take a train ride to Padova to visit the shrine that is devoted to St. Anthony. Calabria is as far south as you can get in Italy, with the exception of Sicily. The Veneto area, the region in which Padova is located, is pretty much at the opposite end of Italy. It was August and it was hot. Very, very hot! And why we decided to take the train as oppose to a simple flight it still beyond us! But the adventures train ride did add to the experience.
The long journey was all but forgotten once we reached the beautiful, but not very “touristy” city of Padua. There’s a sense of class and calm to this city that is unique. The people are beautifully dressed, the dogs are on leashes, which is not always the case in Southern Italy, and the drivers actually appear respectful of traffic lights, which, again, is not always the case in Southern Italy! Our first stop, and reason for the trip, was a visit to the Basilica of St. Anthony, an immense, brick building, overwhelmingly stunning.
The inside is massive and adorned with art, religious statues and relics of St. Anthony. A sense of calm immediately overtakes you upon entering. I knew being here meant a lot to my mother, particularly since we had lost our father not long prior and needed a restoration in faith. This was a “bucket list” trip for her, so my sister and I were delighted to see how content she was at being there. Folks from all walks of life are drawn to this church by their strong devotion to the Saint, and she was no different. Continue reading at The Lazy Italian.