I studied medieval literature in college, and one thing I always enjoyed learning about were the many colorful saints that people talked about, wrote about, and prayed to. Some of these aren’t so well-known nowadays you don’t hear much about St. Apollonia, popularly regarded as the patron saint of dentistry and toothaches because her teeth were pulled out during an uprising against the Christians in the 3rd Century, or St. Vedast, who is invoked on behalf of children who walk with difficulty as well as for diseases of the eyes.
Other saints, however, are still celebrated, especially in countries that are predominantly Catholic. One of them is St. Anthony, patron saint of Padua, whose feast day it is today. St. Anthony was born in Lisbon at the end of the 12th century, and he was ordained as a Franciscan monk at the age of 25. After that, he traveled throughout Italy performing miracles and preaching. He’s invoked for a number of things, not least of all on behalf of people who are looking for something they’ve lost.
When I was living in Vienna, I remember a television commercial wherein a hapless young man prayed to a statue of St. Anthony and asked him for help locating a better job One where I earn a little more money, and where they won’t downsize me right away!” “Give yourself a chance,” Anthony intones, and sends him to an online job search site called Wifi (thanks to YouTube, German speakers can now watch the commercial online).