You could be forgiven for thinking in the build up to the World Cup that I am referring to the ever present Ronaldo but you’d be wrong. The local lad I’m referring to here is St. Anthony (of Padua).
It wasn’t before long on the Camino that we discovered the Portuguese have a special place in their heart, homes, churches and communities for St. Anthony. He is everywhere on the plaques on the walls of houses, statues in little street shrine or churches. And although associated with Padua in Italy, where he died, he was in fact born in Lisbon.
St. Anthony was a firm favourite in our home when I was growing up. If ever we couldn’t find something, my mum would first ask ‘well where did you have it last?’ followed swiftly by ‘did you say a prayer to St. Anthony to help you find it?’ It was many a time I’d be in town shopping with mum and she would make a detour to the Franciscan Friary to light a candle and pay St. Anthony what she owed him for whatever seek and find challenge she had set for him in the previous week.
And so it only seemed fitting that I would enlist his help when my hiking socks went missing. I know loosing a pair of socks may seem trivial but when you have as few belongings as we have with us, it is a bit of a deal, every piece of equipment is vital. Going to bed last night we had searched high up and low down to no avail and had pretty much given up on ever finding them, thinking they had perhaps fallen out of a pocket on my backpack during the day. As I turned out the lights last night I made one last ditch effort with a prayer to St. Anthony and this morning the saint had flexed his considerable power and my socks appeared in the laundry room where they hadn’t been the night before. So today as I walked I was on the lookout for the ‘local lad’ to say my thanks and the next time I see his statue in one of the pretty little churches along our way I will be paying my dues in true family tradition.