David and Mercedes Rizzo look for concrete ways to describe the saints to their daughter, who has special needs.
“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony please come around. Something is lost and needs to be found.” Thankfully this simple rhyming prayer can be very powerful. We know this from personal experience.
Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost and stolen articles. According to legend, Saint Anthony had a book of psalms in which he had written notes and comments. It was taken by a novice without his permission. The book was returned to him after the novice learned that St. Anthony was praying for it to be found. Shortly after his death people began praying to St. Anthony to locate lost or stolen articles.
Last week, good old St. Anthony came through for us again. (chuckle)
Our son lost his car keys. He looked all over for them but he had no luck finding them. Our whole family searched inside and outside for them but no one could locate them. Finally, we remembered to say a prayer to St. Anthony and within minutes the keys were found wedged beneath a Living Room chair seat cushion. Our daughter Danielle who has autism was delighted to help us with the prayer to St. Anthony.
Teaching kids with special needs about saints who lived long ago can be difficult. However, the missing car keys became an opportunity to teach Danielle about a great saint. More importantly, she is learning that St. Anthony is still with us and we can still turn to him for help. This is true of all the saints we venerate in our Catholic tradition. There are many saints who can be our “go-tos” when looking for help and intercession for a variety of needs. Examples of such patron saints include: St. Joseph (workers and jobs); St.Thérèse of Lisieux (florists and gardening); St. Blaise (sore throats); and St. Francis (animals and pets).
So when the spring rolls around and it’s time to plant and water the flowers, maybe we’ll teach Danielle to say a prayer to St. Thérèse. We have no doubt that Danielle, who loves flowers, will be happy to meet her. And if Danielle ever loses something, perhaps she will remember to ask St. Anthony for help too.
Copyright 2021 David and Mercedes Rizzo
Image: Andreas F. Borcher (2012), Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA 3.0
About the Author
David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit DavidAndMercedesRizzo.com to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) and Spiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press).