“What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?”
– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
When I think of Venice, I think of Tony.
Have you heard of Tony, Tony?
Maybe it’s just a quirky Catholic thing.
I grew up Catholic, and my mom taught us to call on Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost items, for help when we misplaced something.
Tony, Tony, Tony,
please come around,
and can’t be found!
Help me find ____________.
On the line, we’d add in the name of the lost article (car keys, stuffed Ewok … our minds?).
In my family, we’ve had some c-r-a-z-y recoveries after praying to Tony. The most notable is when my mom lost her deceased mother’s wedding band. She turned the house upside down hunting. Distraught, she said a prayer to Saint Antony, and went to bed. That night, she dreamt of the ring and awoke at 3 a.m. to find it in a spot she had searched four times.
Maybe it’s because he’s from Padua, Italy, but I’m two for two on Tony interventions in Italy.
The first happened in 1997. My mom visited me my junior year in France and we traveled to Venice. We roamed around the labyrinth streets during the day, soaking in the sights, lapping up Nutella gelato, and shopping, shopping, and more shopping.
It’s common to get turned around in Venice – there are signs on buildings pointing to the Rialto Bridge and San Marco (two keys spots) for that very reason. So, after splitting a bottle of wine at dinner, we were sunk.
It was dark. Dark + tipsy = lost in Venice.
And we were lost.
We started walking, and didn’t know which way was out, out of the maze to our hotel on the Grand Canal. We ambled around for what seemed like eternity before stopping, deciding to pray to St. Anthony together. I remember thinking – really mom? Tony Tony … here? – but followed her lead.
We walked a few more blind blocks before stumbling upon a store we recognized – a Fontanini store, no less.
That was our mark.
From there, we regained our way. My mom popped inside the store and bought two angel ornaments as keepsakes for our Christmas trees (the angel is still the topper on our Christmas tree).
This January, I visited Venice again. I bought two Pandora-style beads at a Murano glass factory – for my mother and mother-in-law. Once at the castle, I packed for my departure and realized they were gone. In transit from Venice via gondola, ferry, and motor coach, I must have dropped them.
I let a tour manager know, but figured they were now someone else’s find. Nonetheless, I threw out a Hail Mary pass to Saint Anthony.
The next night, I was sitting at the Danieli with newfound friends enjoying an apéritif. One of the tour managers bounced up to me holding a packet. I was geeked. It was my tiny bag, the bag housing the two glass beads. Another teacher had found them on the floor of the motor coach as they departed early morning en route to airport. Youpi!
My belief about Tony: It seems to work if you request from the heart and not the mind. You say the prayer, and then let it go. The same goes for burying a St. Joseph statue upside down when you want to sell your house, right?
There’s something in letting go of the attachment to the item – que sera sera – because it seems that’s when the magic happens.
It may seem whacky-do, but it usually works for me. Except for a pair of Lululemon black pants. I cannot find them. Can you say a prayer to St. Anthony for me?
Has Tony helped you find a lost item? … I’d love to hear your story in the comments.
P.S. Our family’s bedtime prayer.
Ciao for now.