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Sarah Torbeck reminds us that little miracles—despite their size—still bear the marks of God's benevolent grace. 

My granddaughter, Gwynnie, was confirmed into the Catholic Church just a few days ago. I was privileged to be her Confirmation sponsor. I stood amongst the sponsors as we waited expectantly for our charges to be confirmed. When Gwynnie’s turn finally came, she stepped forward with great anticipation—as the bishop looked at her and said, “Gwyneth Anthony, I sign you …” 

I smiled inwardly, as I heard the name of Gwynnie’s patron saint. Unlike most girls, she had chosen the name of a male saint—St. Anthony of Padua—as her patron. When she called me to tell me who she had chosen, I was a bit puzzled, but it became quite clear once she explained her reasoning. “You see, Nana,” she confided, “I’m really absent-minded. I forget everything. I have to ask St. Anthony for his help several times a week! So, I figured he already knew me really well.” 




I laughed in agreement with my granddaughter. It was true. Many very intelligent people struggle with absent-mindedness. “At least you are self-aware,” I teased. Gwynnie laughed with me as I confessed that I too, had asked St. Anthony for his help many times over the years. As we commiserated about our shared inadequacy, I was suddenly reminded of a small but remarkable miracle that St. Anthony had granted me, just a decade earlier. 

I smiled and assumed a conspiratorial tone as I launched into the tale of me, St. Anthony, and the $100 bill. 

It was a warm afternoon, and I was bustling around the house doing the household chores, when my husband, Steve, suddenly appeared behind me. I looked over my shoulder as I finished loading the dishwasher and asked him what he wanted. 

He reached into his pocket and gave me a $100 bill. “I have to go to a meeting, and the lawn boy is coming here in an hour to pick up this money. Put it in your pocket so that you don’t lose it.”  

I rolled my eyes. “I’m not going to lose it, Steve. Just give it to me. It will be fine.” Steve looked tentative, but he handed me the money anyway and left for his meeting. I can’t lose this money, I thought to myself. So I resolved to keep the money in my right hand while I finished my housework.  

I worked quickly and efficiently for the next hour before finally sitting down. The house was clean, and I was feeling pretty satisfied with myself ... when I suddenly remembered the $100 bill. I looked at my right hand. It wasn’t there. I stood up and searched my pockets. No money. I began to search the room frantically, as I examined surfaces and furniture. Everything was clean and in its place … but there was no money.  

I began to panic as I raced from room to room. I rifled through papers and unfolded the laundry. I even peered into the dishwasher.  


I stood in the middle of the kitchen as I struggled to mentally retrace my steps. Where had I put that confounded money? I hated it when Steve was right! 

I had almost given up my search when I suddenly remembered St. Anthony. Heaven knew the number of times I had begged him for assistance, and this time was no different. “SAINT ANTHONY,” I cried. “Help me!” I knew there was a formulary prayer, but in my current state of distress, I could not remember it. I simply begged St. Anthony for help. 

And then it suddenly occurred to me that I should check the trash in the garage. I was skeptical, but I had nothing to lose, either. So I ran into the garage, and poked my hand into the top of the trash bag. I grimaced as I made my way past the coffee grounds and orange peels, but I was determined. I opened the bag a little wider and peered down into the miasma.  

No $100 bill.  

I sighed, and began to repack the trash when I happened to spy a folded white paper sitting slightly apart from the rest of the trash. What’s this? I wondered. I pulled it into the daylight and carefully unfolded it.  

Green, crisp edges began to appear from inside the paper, and I realized that I had finally found the $100 bill. 

I was overcome with relief.  

I quickly finished unwrapping the money and snatched it out of the folded paper. I started to stuff the money into my pocket when my gaze abruptly fell on the paper I had just unfolded … the paper that had enclosed the errant $100 bill.  


Only a Father who loves His children would involve Himself in the minutiae of our lives. #CatholicMom


I stared in wonder as the paper revealed its significance. It was a flyer, with a picture of St. Anthony on it, and underneath the image was the Prayer for Lost Articles, printed in green. St. Anthony had left no doubt that my prayer had been heard, and a miracle had indeed been granted—a lovely little miracle.   

Only a Father who loves His children would involve Himself in the minutiae of our lives.  

Only a Father who loves His children would grant them a miracle …  

 and even remember to leave a note. 



Copyright 2024 Sarah Torbeck
Images: copyright 2024 Sarah Torbeck, all rights reserved.