A few months ago I visited the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua and mentioned in a post that several years ago I had to repay my mother for a hefty donation she made in honor of Saint Anthony after I misplaced my passport (a copy of the relevant portion of the post is below).
While sorting through all my files and papers lately I came across the attached notes from my mother referencing that incident! That’s some good Catholic guilt for you!
Excerpt from post Padova – Padua to you Yanks!:
“After lunch (which included my first bolognese ragù since arriving in Italy!), we visited the Basilica di Sant’Antonio da Padova. The church was begun in 1230 and is fascinating as it is constructed in a Byzantine style and has seven cupolas. The inside of the Basilica reminded me a bit of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as there is a bit of a labyrinth feel to the place and there are so many visitors and priests in various vestiges although the church is of Franciscan denomination. No pictures permitted!
The Basilica houses the tomb of Saint Anthony along with many relics. The chapel in which his tomb is located is simply massive and highly adorned. It is somewhat of a pilgrimage sight and there is a place alongside the tomb for worshipers to leave letters/petitions to Saint Anthony and many visitors have left pictures of people on a wall adjacent to the tomb.
Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost things/items so it is quite sad and moving to see pictures of the faces of people that have disappeared or are missing for whatever reason. As people walk around the rear of the tomb, many press both of their hands on it and make a short prayer (it is about head high).
A few years ago, prior to a trip to Chile with my friends Ann and Leslie, I misplaced by passport and was in a real panic (Ann will recall me calling her!). I also called my mother, as she is a very good Catholic, and she prayed and made an offering to Saint Anthony and sure enough, the next day I found my passport (which I had hidden in a very ridiculous place). I had to pay my mother back for the offering which was quite hefty as she figured she needed to pad the request as I was in a rush and needed to jump to the top of the line (ouch!).”