Item # LFA174
Wonderful French religious statue of St. Antoine de Padoue. The statue, hand carved from walnut wood, depicts St. Anthony holding the Christ Child in his left arm and a book of psalms in his right hand with the words "St. Antoine de Padoue P.P.N." (Priez Pour Nous which means Pray For Us) painted on the plinth. Circa 1880s. Saint Anthony, patron saint of lost and stolen articles, was a powerful Franciscan preacher and teacher. Although Anthony has been frequently portrayed in art since his death in 1231, images of him with the Christ Child did not become popular until the 17th century. In Portugal, Italy, France and Spain, St. Anthony is also the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. According to some, his statue is sometimes placed in a shrine on the ship’s mast and the sailors sometimes scold him if he doesn’t respond quickly enough to their prayers. Religious statues of this size and age are highly sought after and would be an attribute to any home.
It is unclear how Saint Anthony became a patron saint of lost items or lost things, but legend has it that his patronage may be traced to an incident in his own life. As the story goes, Anthony's book of psalms that contained the notes and comments he had made to use in teaching students in his Franciscan Order was stolen. Upon realizing his psalter was missing, Anthony prayed it would be found or returned to him. After his prayer, the thief, a novice who had grown tired of living a religious life and had decided to depart the community, was moved to return the psalter to Anthony and to return to the Order, which accepted him back. St. Anthony's reputation as a finder of lost or stolen things has only grown since the incident of the lost psalter. People all over ask him to intercede with God for the return of lost or stolen things, often praying, “Tony, Tony, turn around. Something’s lost and must be found."
h - 38"
w - 12"
d - 8"
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