As readers of this blog know, I have a special affinity for Saint Anthony. He has blessed me in so many ways, and I’m not even Catholic! I don’t care, and I don’t think Saint Anthony does either, because I feel his divine hand and always thank him for his blessings and make donations to every Saint Anthony capella I find myself in, including The Frari, the Basilica that is in our “front yard”.
Saint Anthony’s Altar is the first one on the right when you walk in. I have said many prayers and thank yous to Saint Anthony in the Frari. That’s why, moving here, facing the Frari was such a sign!
What follows is yet another impact from Saint Anthony, which I can classify as no other than a miracle to me.
To admit the following tale of woe is particularly embarrassing, but, to look on the brighter side, it does reveal my trusting nature and good heart!
When preparing our move to Venice last year, we had to sell four cars (typical California living with lots of toys). This was the biggest one to sell: a 2003 Ford Thunderbird.
I had met a new friend recently and we instantly hit it off. She was smart, funny, entertaining, and around the same age. She had just moved to California and didn’t have a car. We lent her one our of cars, “the daily commuter car” so that she could get to and from work. She always seemed appreciative and trustworthy.
One day, the topic came up that she wanted to buy the Thunderbird. She couldn’t pay for it outright, and asked if she could make payments over two years. I was hesitant, but I wanted the car to be taken care of and I believed in the beginning that she would make the payments. So, we agreed. I would turn over the car to her on my last day in the States. I drew up a contract, printed the proper forms from the DMV (including one that would allow you to sell the car without the title, because I had long lost the title years ago — literally like five years), but never thought about getting a new one… Duh.) and had everything ready to go.
I gave everything to her about two weeks before I left, but then she had to travel for work and it became very difficult to reach her. I had had real tough, honest communication about whether she really wanted to buy this car, and she said she did. She was still traveling when it was time for Adam and I to fly, so I left EVERYTHING for her. New tags, all of the paperwork, the keys, etc. Did I mention I didn’t get a down payment? When we arrived in Venice, there were no signs from her… She would not respond to my messages. I couldn’t reach her at all. FOR WEEKS.
We were Facebook friends, and she rarely posted, but one day I read that she had suddenly moved from LA to Atlanta! And she drove the Thunderbird all the way there, uninsured. At this point, I considered the car stolen and reported it to the police. But then I saw she was moving to New York. This was going to be a national hunt, and the police weren’t going to spend all of this time looking for a car that may be anywhere. So, I pulled a Hail Mary and I contacted every single family member she had on Facebook, and one friend she had in Atlanta. I wrote them all and said that this woman has stolen my car.
That got her attention.
When she got ahold of me, she berated me and said I didn’t play fair, and she didn’t want the car anyway. I told her to leave the car in Atlanta with her friend. The woman in Atlanta was a true angel, and shepherded the car to her home where she stored it safely until I could have it transported back to LA, so that my parents could sell it. She would not accept anything from me — Money. A gift. Nothing. She was truly heaven sent.
This is where the saying “It is always darkest before the dawn” has it’s truest meaning:
I don’t have the title. I tried and tried to get the title from the DMV, but there were so many addresses that were different — I had a different address on the title, my CA driver licence, my registration. It was a mess and now that I am in Venice, there is no way I can do anything in person. I was totally lost. Out of luck. The car was safe, but it just sat there like a rock. And we could use the money from that car.
Fast forward months later to now.
This may seem random and out of context, but bear with me. I have a huge cookbook collection. Huge. This is only about one-quarter of my cookbooks in our apartment now — and I only unpacked them a week ago. I sorted through every single one, choosing my top favorites for the shelf. The rest are packed away again.
These books have been in boxes for 6 months. One day last week, I felt like making minestrone. Don’t know why… just a feeling. I looked at all my cookbooks on the shelf, and pulled down one — Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
This book isn’t even one of my go-tos, but for no particular reason, I felt that since we live in Venice now, I should use a recipe from Marcella, because she lived here for the last 20 years of her life.
I pull the book down, and go back to the index to find “Minestrone”, start flipping through the pages to find the recipe, and look what is delivered instead:
The title. In a book I haven’t opened in five years. That sat packed away for 6 months. That made the cut to my slimmer library. What are the odds? They are incalculable. For me, there is no other explanation than a miracle. Saint Anthony, finder of lost things, placed it there for me to find, just when I had lost all hope.
O blessed St. Anthony,
the grace of God has made you a powerful advocate
in all our needs and the patron
for the restoring of things lost or stolen.
I turn to you today with childlike love and deep confidence.
You have helped countless children of God
to find the things they have lost,
material things, and, more importantly,
the things of the spirit: faith, hope, and love.
I come to you with confidence;
help me in my present need.
I recommend what I have lost to your care,
in the hope that God will restore it to me,
if it is His holy Will.
I have been saying thank you to Saint Anthony for years, because I believe he led me to find my lost happiness. I never ask for a thing, just like the woman in Atlanta. I just say Thank You.
As before, as is today: All I want to say is Thank You to Saint Anthony. We’ve lit candles and made a donation in the Frari during Easter Midnight Mass on Saturday night.