Nevertheless, many are still uninformed of exactly why they pray to him in the first place! This is not just an Italian thing, but a Catholic one.
Anthony of Padua also spelled Antony, Italian Sant’Antonio da Padova, is the Patron Saint of lost articles. Saint Anthony became the saint of lost articles due to his own struggles with losing items.
One of Anthony’s dear items included a hand-copied book of Psalms, which contained information he used to teach his students theology. He was staying at a Franciscan monastery when one of his pupils departed.
The pupil was not the only thing to leave as St. Anthony’s book of Psalms also disappeared. The young man was a thief who stole Anthony’s book. Deeply distressed, Anthony did not know what to do. He was unaware of where the young man went and could not track him down.
Thus, St. Anthony prayed to the Lord that the young man would come back and return his book.
His prayers were answered as the man who stole his book returned. Interestingly, the very book returned to Anthony is preserved in the Franciscan monastery in Bologna, Italy.