Note: As we approach the feast of a great Franciscan saint, Anthony of Padua, I asked my sister Angie if she could write a post since she has a special devotion to him. Below is her reflection
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As a teen, I attended a summer trip with my youth group. We went from St. Paul to Denver for a Steubenville Conference.
My dad had been having some health troubles and had tests done. My mom, my three siblings and I went on the trip and he was the only one left at home. Then, a day or two into the trip, we got the call that tests had turned out positive. He had cancer and was all alone.
I remember when I heard the news, the color faded from view, my vision went black and white, and the world seemed to go in slow motion. I went straight to the chapel, knelt down before the Blessed Sacrament and tried to comprehend what it meant.
Would he die? What would happen to our family? What would happen to him? To me? I also questioned the ‘why’ of it.
As I knelt there, I knew I couldn’t make it through this alone. I felt distanced from God. I needed a saint to walk with me. I had recently been confirmed and chose St. Anthony as my patron saint. I told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to be my right-hand man throughout all this. And for good measure, I asked St. Therese to be on my left.
As the pilgrimage progressed, we visited many different churches; our group slept on church floors along the way, celebrated Mass, and toured many different churches. Each and every one had a statue or stained glass window of St. Anthony and St. Therese right next to each other. I knew this was a personal sign that they were looking after me and that everything would be okay.
As I reflect on St. Anthony as the saint known for finding things, I realize that sometimes I just need him to find me. My dad turned out to be okay; my family survived and even grew through the experience. I’m humbled by the witness and just the company the saints can provide. I can’t wait to meet St. Anthony face to face someday and thank him for taking the time to walk with that young teenage kid.
Angela Neumann earned her bachelor of arts from the University of St. Thomas in St.Paul, MN in Philosophy and Catholic Studies. She holds a Masters of Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute in Washington DC with a Specialization in Marriage and Family. She is currently work towards a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has worked extensively for the Church in the Dioceses of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Bismarck and Fargo, ND, for the USCCB and in Rome. She is a retreat leader, speaker, youth minister, spiritual director and leader in women’s ministry. Angela enjoys the great outdoors, and coaching volleyball.