Tony’s big day

For an entire month my car key was nowhere to be found.  Off and on I searched to no avail, but I wasn’t worried because I knew the key had to be in the house.  But where?

Then, day before yesterday as Steven was preparing to leave for work, he said, “Since you haven’t found the key, I’m thinking of ordering a replacement.  It’ll take a while to get here, though.”

“It’s okay.  Don’t worry about it.” I told him.

Tony, Tony, look around.  The key is lost and must be found.

“Let’s see what St. Anthony comes up with,” I said and quickly forgot about the key.


When Steven got home that afternoon, he needed something from the closet shelf in the office.  Reaching into the box he excitedly proclaimed, “Look at this!  I should’ve opened the door on the left but opened this other one instead.  Look what I found!”

There in his right hand was the missing car key entwined in the coiled cord of the vehicle’s phone charger.  Without thinking he’d opened the wrong door, reached into the wrong box, and discovered the missing key!

“How did the key end up there?  I didn’t put it there.  You didn’t put it there.  Why did I go for this door when I  meant to open the left door?  Serendipity?  How did this happen?”

Steven was beside himself with amusement, delight, relief, and awe.  He’d never before referred to anything as serendipitous.  Three times, no less.

Tony’s big day

“That’s St. Anthony for you!” I enthused.  “I told you he’d take care of it, and he did.  He knew I wanted something special to write about for his feast day, so he took care of both dilemmas with one simple feat.

“Not only that,” I continued.  “Two letters ago I learned that Sister in Australia celebrates her birthday on June thirteenth, so now I have two very special reasons to celebrate
St. Anthony’s big day.”



Contact information

The novena pamphlet, the prayer booklet, and the prayer card are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.  St. Anthony relics are also available.  The top large photo (source unknown) and the lower right-hand prayer card I’ve had for decades.  The novena prayer card is from The Province of St. Mary of the Capuchin Order, 21 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001-2876.

Nine days of prayer in honor of St. Anthony

First day…  Dear St. Anthony, you are renowned all over the world for your unfailing assistance to those who are afflicted, in trouble, or burdened with any great anxiety.  With reliance on your power to intercede with God for those in difficulty, I confidently entrust to you my present intention.  With your gracious support, God’s mercy will meet my need.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, pray for us.

Second day…  Lovable St. Anthony, in your apostolic preaching you insisted on our duty to pray without ceasing.  Please help me now to make my every action a silent prayer to God in my necessity which I have trustingly confided to your care.  In your kindness teach me how to pray patiently, perseveringly, and in a spirit of resignation to God’s holy and saving will.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, intercede for us.

Third day…  Glorious St. Anthony, by the example of your holy life as by your preaching, you inspire us with undiminished trust in God’s mercy and kindness.  In your honor I will fast from some legitimate pleasures of life in order to purify my affections and clarify my intentions.  As you taught us, the good Lord listens with love to the prayers of those who come before him with faith.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, plead for us.

Fourth day…  Powerful
St. Anthony, you have multiplied your favors over the years since your entrance into heaven to show God’s bountiful mercy to those who are in sorrow.  I try, despite my sinfulness and weakness, to imitate your virtues and to obey God’s word so as to honor you sincerely and fittingly.  Please come quickly to my aid in my present necessity.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, be our protector.

Fifth day…  Charitable
St. Anthony, in honor of your own goodness and compassion I, too, am trying to help others in need of understanding and mercy.  This prayer in practice I offer to God through your hands in a spirit of confident faith knowing full well that all who call upon you will receive consolation and aid.  Your own merciful assistance so often shown to others I will, I am sure, be mine.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, be good to us.

Sixth day…  Humble St. Anthony, how patient you were in humbly doing God’s will and leaving to him your life and its future.  Kindly obtain from God for me the grace to reconcile myself to his holy will for me in my great concern.  I cast all my cares on you who will, I am sure, entrust them to the Lord who is never deaf to those whose full trust is in him.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, watch over us.

Seventh day…  Most pure St. Anthony, by your singleness of heart you steadfastly pursued the task God gave you.  By your example and help, I turn to you in faith so that you may be my patron and steady voice before God’s throne.  You are a friend in great trials as in the smallest difficulties, so I implore you to come also to my assistance now.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, keep us faithful.

Eighth day…  St. Anthony, consoler, you are ever attentive to those who come to you with their difficulties whether large or small.  Those who know your kindness learn to rely with faith on your power with God and your desire to help God’s people.  Please make my present concern your own and intercede for me and for those I entrust to your care.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, be our comfort.

Ninth day…  Faithful St. Anthony, I thank you for your many favors in the past.  In the certainty you will assist me in my present need, I will show my appreciation by imitating your virtues and example, by avoiding sin, and by patiently persisting in prayer so as to conform my will to God’s purpose for me and for those I pray for.  Amen.

Our Father…. / Hail Mary…. / St. Anthony, remember my needs.

Quote…  “Nothing apart from God can satisfy the human heart that is truly in search of him” (St. Anthony of Padua).

Links of interest…  Basilica in Padua…  Dear St. Anthony…  Ever heard of “everyone’s saint” basilica…  Franciscan Mission Associates…  Franciscan saints & blesseds…  Lost & found (blog)…  Mail deliveries (S.A.G.)…  Recipe…  Sardine heaven: Portugal…  St. Anthony: bread / feastJune 13thof Padua / saint for lost things / shrine / to the rescue

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. AnthonySt. Anthony chaplets…  St. Felix…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerating St. Anthony

Gift of love

Monday afternoon I received another heartwarming letter from Sister in Australia.  So, naturally, I sat back in my chair and opened the gift.  I gingerly removed its contents, set the items on the computer desk, and counted— four.

Sister’s letter

I examined the two laminated photos of St. Thérèse.  The first had a child’s offering on the back; the second, a petition.


Next, I picked up the custom-made greeting card on orange cardstock.

I love orange! 

Having read the poem adhered to the front, I opened Sister’s card.  The paper-thin, silky-smooth photo within was laminated, two-sided.

Ecce Homo.  Behold the man.


Love and prayers

I wondered about the photo, but I really wanted to read Sister’s message.  I relaxed in my chair as if to share a cup of tea and conversation.


Dearest Deli & Steve,

Praised be the Holy Child Jesus!  Thank you for your lovely letter… most grateful for it.  I hope you had a happy trip and break at Minneapolis and the pilgrim centers that you visited.  You are most kind.  I thank God for you, and I am very appreciative of it at this time.

I am well by the grace of God and had a good retreat early this month.  I feel that the Holy Child Jesus has showered me with his graces.  Deo Gratia.

If you do not hear from me, remember, you and all your family and intentions will be always close to my heart in prayer.  God bless you with lots of love and prayers.

Gratefully in Jesus…

Unexpected surprises

I didn’t know what to think.  I read and reread the card a bunch of times, trying to read between the lines, trying to contain my tears.  Then I heard Steven in the kitchen.  He’d gotten home from work.

“Sister sent a letter!  Just wait till you see what she sent!”

I gathered the items to show Steven.

Oh, my gosh! 

I had miscounted.

Gift of love

My sadness turned to joy when I saw the fifth item.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Steven walked over to my thoughtful spot at the computer, and I couldn’t stop jabbering.

I was so excited!  Over the moon, in fact.

“Yesterday in the chapel at Montserrat— for just a fleeting moment as I was praying my Child Jesus chaplet— I wished for a St. Teresa relic.  And here, today, I received a second-class relic from Sister in Australia!!!

“Oh, my gosh!  And I have just the frame for it, too!”
I continued.  “Thursday afternoon I found it atop my books on the shelf here.  How it got there, I don’t know.  But I didn’t move it just in case we needed it later on.  Talk about everything falling into place.”

What a gift of love!

Oh, my gosh.  First, the vintage postcard of
St. Teresa!  And now this?!!  I’m sooo blessed!

Thank you, Sister!  You’re in my forever thoughts and prayers!  I’m sending you heartfelt hugsss…


St. Thérèse, teach us how to open our heart without reserve to the Holy Spirit.  Help us to seek and find God’s will not only in the crises and choices, but also in the joys and disappointments of our lives.  Gain for us the grace to do God’s will with courage and untroubled hearts so that we can radiate joy and  gladness like yours in the service of our Lord.  Amen.


July 2, 2014

“He wills that I should love him because he has forgiven me not much, but everything” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

October 1, 2014

We can never have too much hope in God.  He gives in the measure we ask (St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus).

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice: here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word, always doing the smallest thing right and doing it all for love” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

October 15. 2014

“God dwells within you, and there you should dwell with him” (St. Teresa of Avila).

October 27, 2014

“For me prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven; it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

January 9, 2015

“When we accept our disappointment at our failures, God immediately returns to us”
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

February 15, 2015

So the divine love is sacrificial love.  Love does not mean to have and to own and to possess.  It means to be had and to be owned and to be possessed.  It is not a circle circumscribed by self, it is arms outstretched to embrace all humanity within its grasp (Venerable Fulton Sheen).

April 1, 2015

My strength lies in prayer and sacrifice…, invincible weapons [that] touch hearts more surely than words can do, as I have learned by experience
(St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

September 17, 2015

The school of Christ is the school of [love].  On the last day, when the general examination takes place….  [Love] will be the whole syllabus (St. Robert Bellarmine).

October 1, 2015

“When one loves, one does not calculate” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

“I will work for your love alone, my sole aim being to give you pleasure, to console your sacred heart, and to save souls who will love you forever” (The Little Catechism of St. Thérèse).

October 23, 2015

Charity works.  It gets good jobs done.  It gives form and life to all of the virtues.  Infused by God, it reigns supreme in loving goodness over the talents of learning and the talents of living (Kevin Vost in Unearthing Your Ten Talents).

November 17, 2015

To discover that you are loved is the center of all existence.  And when we are filled with this total and delirious love, little by little, we grow and love in turn.  That gradualness in our journeys is a sign of the infinite tenderness of God (Chiara Corbella Petrillo).

January 11, 2016

Be a soul of love in order to become an apostle, and you will discover a very beautiful thing: that at the bank of love, the more you give, the richer you become (Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée in I Believe in Love).

October 1, 2016

I have not the courage to force myself to seek beautiful prayers in books.  Not knowing which to choose I act as children do who cannot read.  I say quite simply to the good God what I want to tell him, and he always understands me (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

March 28, 2017

The Holy Spirit gives us himself as a free, gratuitous, nonreturnable gift of love, as we do when we give loving gifts to others with no expectation of personal gain, because we wish them well.  Love itself, then, is the first gift through which all free gifts are given (Kevin Vost in The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit).

June 15, 2017

At last I have found my calling!  My calling is love! (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

July 17, 2017

O how glorious our faith is!  Instead of restricting hearts, as the world fancies, it uplifts them and enlarges their capacity to love (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

July 22, 2017

“We were born to love, we live to love, and we will die to love still more” (St. Joseph Cafasso).

October 16, 2017

Charity works.  It gets good jobs done.  It gives form and life to all of the virtues.  Infused by God, it reigns supreme in loving goodness over the talents of learning and the talents of living (Kevin Vost in Unearthing Your Ten Talents).

October 30, 2017

Love is a force more formidable than any other.  It is invisible— it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment and offer you more joy than any material possession could (Barbara DeAngelis).

October 31, 2018

Receive our Lord, and keep him as long as you can.  Make plenty of room for him within you.  To let Jesus Christ increase in one’s soul is the most perfect act of love (St. Peter Julian Eymard in How to Get More out of Holy Communion).

August 14, 2019

Of all the possible motives that can account for our actions, the most powerful of all is the motive of love.  Love is God’s own motive.  He does all things for love (Fr. Philip Dion in The Handbook of Spiritual Perfection).


Links of interest…  Carmelites (saints)…  Catholic books & podcasts (free downloads)…  Child Jesus: chaplet (more) / devotion / petitions…  Cloistered communities: about / a day within the walls…  Daily inspirations…  Flower of Carmel (Goonellabah): contact / home / prayer…  Friendship rooted in charity…  In response to the little girl who broke my son’s heart…  Montserrat…  Need a saint you can relate to (more Carmelite saints)…  Polish mystic from Poland & her conversations with Jesus…  September martyrs…  Sisters of Carmel…  St. Teresa: about (more) / chaplet /  facts / Infant of Prague / little way of piety / novena / poems / prayers /  quotes (more) / saint…   St. Thérèse of Lisieux: 54 incredible photos taken by her sister, Celine / 1873-1897 / about / Carmelite / celestial roses / centenary / chaplet / faith endures in the dark / feast day homilyhistory / holy face / inspiration / invocation / life / live simply in great love / oblation / Oct 1 / little way / novena / petitions / prayer / relic / secret of the little waystory…  Story of a soul (1898; free): audio / ebook…  Various rosaries & chaplets…  Vatican mystery solved: An old photo identifies 4 nuns who cataloged half a million stars…  Venerable Margaret:  1619-1648 (Parigot) / aboutbiographybookchaplet / religious order

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Kindred acorns…  Making meaning…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

In the pink


I don’t often visit anyone at the hospital but Pat had undergone surgery, and I wanted to spend time with her and Carlos so they’d know that Steven and I had them in our thoughts and prayers.

Fortunately, I made it to eleven-thirty Mass in the chapel so I took some photos afterwards.

Mental note

On my way out I again noticed St. Basil’s picture opposite the table with the book of petitions at which I stopped to write.  I scanned the text above St. Basil’s frame, made a mental note to learn more later on, and quickly forgot by the time I reached Pat’s room.

St. Basil

Updating the church blog on New Year’s Eve almost two months since my visit to the chapel, I came across St. Basil’s name again.  Although I’d previously seen his name in the Word among us around this time of year, I didn’t know anything about him.

I searched the internet and learned that Monday, January 2, is the feast day of not only St. Basil, but also St. Gregory Nazianzen, both of whom were bishops and Church doctors.  Additionally, together with St. John Chrysostom, they were revered as the “three holy hierarchs.”

St. Basil was indeed one of the greatest pillars of the Church.  He loved children and always assisted the sick and the homeless.  He was the first bishop to establish orphanages and hospitals and old age homes.  He first directed the attention of the Church to these unfortunate victims of society (Poulos, 1974, p. 39).






Almighty God, lord of angels and all creation who dwells on high yet cares for the lowly, who searches the heart and knows every hidden thing, eternal and unchanging light, we trust in your great mercy to hear the prayers offered from our unclean lips.

Forgive the sins we have committed in knowledge or in ignorance, in thought, word, or deed; and cleanse us, body and soul, from every stain.  Allow us to pass through the darkness of this present life watchful and alert, always expecting the coming bright day of your only begotten son, our Lord God and savior, Jesus Christ.  He shall come in glory to judge all people and reward us according to our deeds.

Help us to put away laziness, be full of courage, and be found doing his work ready to enter his glorious kingdom with joy.  You are the true light of every creature, and to you all creation sings.  Amen.

As I rise from sleep I thank you, holy Trinity, for through your great goodness and patience you have not been angry with me, an idler and sinner.  Nor have you destroyed me with my inequities, but have [instead] shown your usual love for mankind.  When I despaired you raised me up to keep the morning watch and glorify your power.  Enlighten my mind’s eye and open my mouth that I may meditate on your words and understand your commandments.  Do your will, and [I will] sing praises to your all-holy name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

O come let us worship God, our king.  O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our king and God.  O come let us worship and fall down before Christ himself, our king and God.

Dear St. Basil, you lived among saints: your parents and your best friend, Gregory Nazianzen.  You were an inspirer of true monastic life and a reformer of priests and laity.  Help all who work for moral reform in our turbulent age.  Give them a true knowledge of Jesus so that they will draw all people to him.  Amen.

I bless you, Lord.  Though I am powerless, you strengthen my weakness.  You stretch from above your helping hand and bring me back unto yourself.  What shall I render to you, good master, for all the good things you have done and continue to do for me, the sinner?  I will cease not to bless you all the days of my life, my creator, my benefactor, and my guardian.  Amen.

January 2, 2011

The coloration of the stained-glass windows was stunning during my first visit to the chapel, July 27, 2010, no doubt attributable to the sun’s position mid-afternoon.



January 2, 2013

“Intimacy with the Lord is not a matter of physical kinship; rather, it is achieved by cheerful readiness to do the will of God” (St. Basil).

October 2, 2013

“Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life” (St. Basil).

January 2, 2014

“The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings perfection to those who are making progress” (St. Basil).

June 16, 2014

What is the mark of love for your neighbor?  Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul (St. Basil).

January 2, 2015

“Words are truly the image of the soul” (St. Basil).

July 24, 2015

“Prudence must precede every action which we undertake; for, if prudence is wanting, there is nothing, however good it may seem, which is not turned into evil” (St. Basil).

January 2, 2016

“O sinner, be not discouraged but have recourse to Mary in all your necessities”
(St. Basil).

April 1, 2016

“Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger” (St. Basil).

August 26, 2016

“A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love” (St. Basil).

January 2, 2017

The sun penetrates crystal and makes it more dazzling.  In the same way, the sanctifying Spirit indwells in souls and makes them more radiant.  They become like so many powerhouses beaming grace and love around them (St. Basil).

May 31, 2017

“He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love”
(St. Basil).


Links of interest…  How to plumb the depths of scripture…  Prayers: anaphora / after communion / liturgy…  St. Basil: about (more) / analogy (forty martyrs) /  blessing of the bread (Vasilopita) / cathedral / distinctions / doctor (more) / feast / founder / innovative / life / memorial (more) / patron saint / some writings / “three holy hierarchs”works…  the Word among us…  Why St. Basil the Great is the greatest

WP posts…  Building community…  Concrete abstraction…  Dear God…  Easter surprises…  Golden…  Heart’s desire…  Noon visit…  One prayer…  Picturing God…  Prayerful messages…  Sacred Heart Church…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Chrysostom

Church doctors

Have you ever said or written something that keeps getting mentally regurgitated like the cud in a cow’s multiple stomachs?  You want to swallow it, but it just doesn’t want to stay down?

Well, that’s what happened since my September fifth blog post entry.


While I was totally taken by what I read about St. John Chrysostom (Sept 13th), I had a tough time accepting the quote I read describing him as “one of the four doctors of the church.”

Hmm.  I used the quote but felt bothered.  My doubting Thomasina kept me on edge for ten days.  What if there are more than four?  What if someone reads this and quotes the error?  I’ve gotta look into it, or the Monk within won’t let me rest! (Monk is a TV detective with an overly meticulous personality.)

To silence the discomfort, I deleted the quote from my entry.  I was still curious, mind you; but I lacked the oomph to check into the topic.  And what about the fathers of the church?  I searched for worthwhile links on this week’s saints and serendipitously discovered— gasp— another doctor!

St. Robert Bellarmine (September 17th).  Oh, my! 

I know St. Anthony of Padua (June 13th) is a doctor, and St. Lawrence Brindisi (July 21st) is another.  This is four already! 

I couldn’t delay my search any longer.


For those of you who, like me, are curious to learn more about the fascinating doctors of the Catholic church, Tommy Ferris lists thirty-three on his homepage and provides noteworthy links to each of these saints.

But wait! 

Wasn’t there someone else?  I know I’ve recently seen someone else who writes on this topic.

Father or doctor?

I revisited Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, who has St. Irenaeus (June 28th) listed as both church father and church doctor.  But how can one saint be both? 

What’s the difference between a church father and a church doctor?  This inquiring mind really wanted to know.

Among New Advent‘s (2009) copious definitions is one for church father that makes sense to me.

It follows that, as our own fathers are the predecessors who have taught us, so the fathers of the whole church are especially the earlier teachers, who instructed her in the teaching of the apostles, during her infancy and first growth.

On the other hand, church doctors are “certain ecclesiastical writers [who] have received this title on account of the great advantage the whole church has derived from their doctrine.”

The Catholic encyclopedia also lists and differentiates among saints, fathers, and doctors but doesn’t include all thirty-three of the church doctors on the existing list.

Church doctors

Additionally, my searches yielded three important considerations regarding church doctors:  (1) The Western church had four doctors: Sts. Gregory the Great, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome; the Eastern church, three: Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, and Gregory Nazianzen.  Then others were added over time.  (2) To be called a doctor of the church, a saint had to meet three criteria: “eminent learning, a high degree of sanctity, and proclamation by the church” (New Advent).  However, unlike those of us mere mortals who must go before a dissertation defense committee, the bar, or the medical board to receive the title of doctor, saints don’t appear before a council.  Instead, the title is conferred after the saint’s death.  (3) And, finally, not all extraordinary saints can be doctors of the church.  Martyrs, like St. Irenaeus, are honored only as fathers of the church.

Regardless, I did find the answer to my original question: The Catholic church has thirty-three doctors.  But what about the number of church fathers?  And who are they?

June 22, 2012

“God did not tell us to follow him because he needed our help, but because he knew that loving him would make us whole” (St. Irenaeus in the Word among us, June 2012, p. M81).

February 21, 2015

Pope Francis proclaimed St. Gregory of Narek (950-1003) the thirty-sixth doctor of the Church.

June 30, 2015

Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients.  Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church (St. Thomas Aquinas).

June 28, 2016

“God did not tell us to follow him because he needed our help, but because he knew that loving him would make us whole” (St. Irenaeus).

Links of interest…  5 reasons to read & love the fathers of the church…  Apostles, major saints, & feast days…  Catholic church doctors / fathers (& the Eucharistearlymore – patriarchs) / martyrs…  Back to the beginning: A brief introduction to the ancient Catholic church…  Doctors of the Catholic church: about / audios / book (more / rating) / “faithful people” (more) / list (more) / two new (more)…  Even doctors of the church make theological mistakes…  Learning to appreciate church documents…  Monk (TV show)…  St. Gregory of Narek: about (more) / Armenian mystic / Catholic / church / monk /  newest doctor / tenets of prayer (about – book)…  St. Irenaeus of Lyons: about (more) / bishop / five Marian factsgnostics (more) / quotes (more) / ten things to know / theologian / writings…  St. Jerome

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Church time blues…  Concrete abstraction…  Golden…  Kindred acorns…  Picturing God…  Seven dwelling places…  Simple yet profound…  St. Anthony…  St. Chrysostom…  Teresa of Avila