Hello again! Since it’s Wednesday, I’m throwing a little bit of Italian food at you (okay, not literally–you can get up from under your desk). I’ll be sharing some of the food and fun my hubby and I had in Padua, Italy while on our European Honeymoon Adventure.
Why Padua? If you’ve ever heard of St. Anthony, you may know why.
St. Anthony is a very special saint to me, although it wasn’t always that way. He is known (among many other things!) for helping you find things that you’ve lost. When I was in middle school and first heard about St. Anthony, I used to ask him to help me find things all the time. I never found them. It really started to bug me–did he not like me or something? What was the deal?
Many, many years later (sort of) when I was working at a Catholic university, I was attending a workshop where the icebreaker was to tell everyone in the room what was currently on your mind. I said it was bugging me that I couldn’t find a gift card I had recently gotten (it was an Amazon.com card–can you blame me for worrying about it?). A sister (nun) who was also attending the workshop told me to say, “Thank you, Saint Anthony.” She said it always helped her when she said that.
My curiosity was piqued.
I began saying “Thank you Saint Anthony” immediately. And not long after I got home from the workshop, I found my gift card. I’ve said that phrase many, many times since then–and not just for silly things I’ve lost. Saint Anthony has helped me out many times, like when we were on our crazy European adventure and found ourselves lost in a foreign city, carrying our heavy backpacks and trying to find our random hotel. The ways Saint Anthony has helped me have been endless–and that’s why, out of all the countless cities in Europe we could have traveled to, we wanted to go to his basilica in Padua (called Padova in Italy).
For anyone who isn’t Catholic, I just want to clarify our beliefs a little bit: We do not actually pray to saints like we pray to God. Our belief is that saints (which includes EVERYONE in Heaven) are like friends we can ask to sort of “put in a good word” for us with God when we have things on our minds. It’s important to always be talking to God throughout the day, but why not have some Heavenly friends in your corner too?
So why does that simple phrase, “Thank you, St. Anthony,” always seem to work? It works because faith is always rewarded. God always hears and responds to your prayers when you really believe He will help you (just not always in the way you’d expect!). When I started actually believing Saint Anthony would hear me, it was amazing how often my prayers were always answered.
Our trip to the Basilica was awe-inspiring. We got to actually see where Saint Anthony was buried, put our hands on his tomb and pray, and write little messages to him to leave in a special place by the tomb. I wrote a letter asking him to help my husband and me use our talents and abilities to do good work with our lives, to watch over our families, and to have healthy and happy children together. I never told my husband exactly what I wrote, and I’m not sure if it’s kind of like wishing on a star where you’re not technically supposed to tell anyone, but–I have faith that my hopes and prayers were (and will continue to be) heard.
Thank you, Saint Anthony!
Now, for the whole reason we do “What I Ate Wednesday” in the first place–the eats!: There were a couple of neat foods we tried while in Padua. The very first thing we had was an AMAZING wrap with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella, from a little snack bar-type restaurant that was so teeny it was almost hidden among the streets. This was by far the best prosciutto and mozzarella I had the entire time we were in Italy–I literally CRAVED fresh mozzarella after this wrap.
Later I was also DELIGHTED to find mini boxes of cereal at a Padua grocery store–one of my faaaavorite snacks. It was really fun to try some of the cereals we can’t get in the United States. Look carefully at the names–guess which kind was my favorite?
Ha! It was basically like chocolate rice krispies. My favorite cereal was actually the “Jumbles,” which literally had fudgy goodness inside a crunch chocolatey shell. Hardly what I’d consider a healthy breakfast but it sure did make me smile! The stuff to the left–the “Cao Flakes”–was also pretty good. Like really fat, crunch chocolate cornflakes. Mmmm.
Padua was an amazing experience. The people were lovely, and it warms my heart to think that some of my most special prayers will stay there, being truly heard, in a very holy place.
Is there anywhere special you’d love to journey to? If so, where and why is it so special to you?
Keep in touch, and keep it real!
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