St. Anthony of Padua is often known as the Patron Saint of the Lost. Millions of people pray to him when they wish to find something they have lost. St. Anthony was born in Padua, Italy in 1195 and became a Franciscan monk known for his eloquent speaking skills and in-depth sermons.

St. Anthony was born Fernando Martins de Bulhoes in Lisbon, Portugal to a wealthy and noble family. He was supposed to attend a local cathedral school to follow in his family’s wishes, but instead, he moved into the Augustinian Abbey of St. Vincent. Although his genealogy is uncertain, many suppose that his mother was a descendent of the fourth king of Asturia.

While he was at the abbey, he met five Franciscan monks who were traveling to Morrocco to evangelize to the Muslim population. In February 1220, he heard of the martyrdom of the Franciscan monks and was so moved, asked for permission, which he received, to leave and join the Franciscan Order to evangelize in Morrocco. While at the abbey, he was in charge of hospitality and studied the Latin classics and Scripture. After he joined the Franciscan Order he traveled to Lombardy and preached there for a while. He became known as a great speaker and held teaching positions at universities in Montpellier and Toulouse.

St. Anthony fell ill in 1231 and died in Vercelli when returning from a trip. It is rumored that when he died, the streets were filled with the lamenting cries of children and the bells in the churches rang on their own.

St. Anthony is also sometimes known as the “quickest” saint because he was canonized on May 30, 1231 about a year after his death on June 13, 1231. He was named in 1946 a Doctor of the Church.

The miracles he’s most known for are the famous sermon to the fish and the healing of a sick horse by kneeling and adorning the Blessed Sacrament. He also made food given to him edible by the sign of the cross that was poisoned by Italian heretics. He was also well known for his zeal in fighting heresy so much so that he earned the name Hammer of the Heretics.

Other miracles include preserving an audience in square des creux des Arenes from the rain while he was preaching, and preserving a maid-servant from the rain while she was bringing in food for the monks. He also predicted that a pulpit he was preaching at would break down because of the devil, but that no one would be hurt. No one was hurt, including him, when he was preaching and the pulpit, as predicted, broke down. On a return trip from Italy, he and his companion entered the home of a poor woman. In her haste, she forgot to shut off the wine-barrel tap and his companion broke his glass. St. Anthony began to pray and the barrel was refilled and the glass repaired. He is also said to have reattached Leonardo’s foot when Leonardo cut it off in repentence for kicking his mother.

St. Anthony is often the saint that people pray to when they want to find lost things. These things include anything from rings, keys, faith, lost lover, lost job, or even lost souls. But that’s not all St. Anthony is prayed to for. People also pray to him for safe travel and marriage.  There are many prayers to St. Anthony that people say including the Novena of St. Anthony, a prayer to be said for nine days.

When people have found what they are looking for, they often give thanks to St. Anthony and may even give offerings. These offerings include St. Anthony’s bread and an ex voto. An ex voto is a small painting, waxen image, or written testament to the saint.

St. Anthony is often depicted as a young monk with a white lily in one hand and holding the infant Christ.