Finding lost sanity through right saint(s)

During the pre-printing press period, ordained priest St. Anthony (1195-1235), lost to theft a handwritten book containing psalms, sermon notes and comments. He prayed about it and the thief returned the book, making Anthony the patron saint of lost items. When my boss attended Catholic school, they’d sometimes chant, “St. Anthony, please come around. Something’s lost and can’t be found.”

St. Anthony MedalSt. Anthony is just one of many patron saints. They range from the well-known, such as St. Christopher (travelers) and St. Francis (animals), to the obscure: St. Lidwina of Schiedam (ice skaters) and St. Dominic Savio (juvenile delinquents). Even bowel disorders have a champion: St. Bonaventure!

Some patron saints have more power than others. At, devotee Jim Wagner bragged about St. Joseph, the patron saint of home and family. Wagner wrote about people burying statues of St. Joseph in their yards, believing the (urban-legendish to me) practice will help sell their property.
Per Wagner, “Praying to St. Joseph for a quick sale and burying a statue of him is said to always bring a fast offer on the home. Realtors and homeowners swear that this legend is true.” Then why doesn’t it ALWAYS work, despite some realtors buying cases of St. Joseph statues?
According to Wagner, here’s the catch: they didn’t bury their St. Josephs in the right spots! What?! Yes, it’s their own darned fault! But what exactly went wrong? Again, I quote the victim blaming Wagner, “If you don’t bury the statue in the right spot then you might end up helping the neighbors across the street sell their home before yours or helping a person on the street behind you sell a home. Where you put that statue of St. Joseph can make a big difference in how quickly the home sells.”Omigod!
Burying an artistic statue and activating its spiritual magic is apparently more scientific than first suspected. I hate that my faulty statue placement and misplaced prayers could malign enough to actually help the competition. I should’ve paid more attention in Catechism!
So what’s the RIGHT way to engage in this pagan activity masquerading as Christian tradition? Again, I defer to Wagner’s expertise, who recommends the backyard, preferably in a flowerbed. If one’s unavailable, bury the statue within three feet of the house and on its side, hands pointing toward the house. Another allegedly effective position is to put it upside down in its superstitious grave, where it will have to work harder to dig out. Either way, the statue should be a least 12 inches below the surface. Must be symbolic of deeper faith!
Finally, Wagner suggests those chronically struggling to sell a home should bury the statue next to the real estate sign. However, that might confuse the home seller. Someone still adhering to the initial instruction to bury the statue in his backyard might foolishly move the real estate sign out there to keep them together. And then no one would know the house was on the market. Stranger things have happened!
I only wish I were making up this stuff! But the whole concept is too ridiculous to be fictional. It also got me thinking what if someone at the saint statue store either accidentally or on purpose switched the tags around? That could lead to some interesting consequences. For instance, what if someone only thought they were burying a statue of St. Joseph, but really buried a St. Francis figurine? Would they catch the error before their family pet was asphyxiated?
Worse yet, what if the people selling the house buried a St. Christopher statue by mistake? Would that render potential buyers incapable of finding the house, let alone putting a bid on it? For example’s sake, let’s assume none of them were wearing St. Anthony medallions.
I could speculate over this sort of thing for hours, but unfortunately, my lucky St. Bonaventure pocket charm is working its charm. I need to make a dash to the restroom. If I should fall en route, St. Amelia (bruises) has my back. And if all this has made you crazy, rest assured, there’s a patron saint to cover even that: St. Dymphna (mental illness).


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