Column: A prayer for the lost


Commentary by Donna Monday

I’m just a loser. Honest. Not in the, “No money, no friends, no future,” sense, but in the, “You’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached,” sense. This has been going on all my life.

The first time I had to publicly acknowledge this failing was in the fifth grade. Our teacher was Miss Grier. On the last day of school, Miss Grier brought out her lost-and-found box. She took all the items from the box and lined them up on the chalk tray. She then held them up, one at a time. First came a green notebook. Mine.

Next was a box of crayons. Also mine. After that came all the accoutrements of a fifth-grader – one item at a time. I bet there were 20 things on that chalk tray, and 18 were mine. Did Miss Grier ever offer to let me claim all of them in one final trip to the board? Never! She was teaching me a lesson.

It didn’t work. That was half a century ago, and I’m still a loser.

At this point, I need to add that I am not a Catholic, have never been a Catholic, and do not intend to become a Catholic. But I knew they had something the Methodists don’t – patron saints. And I needed one.

Thanks to a Catholic friend, I knew that the patron saint of lost things is St. Anthony. My friend said when she was a child, she and her brothers would pray, “Tony, Tony, look around. Something’s lost that must be found.”

So, I headed for the Catholic Gift Shop. For 99 cents, I purchased a St. Anthony medal for my keychain. It worked. Hadn’t had it three days before I lost my glasses. I got down on my knees and prayed to St. Anthony. When I opened my eyes, there were my glasses, right in my line of sight. I believed. Still do, Catholic or not.

Alas, the unthinkable happened. I lost St. Anthony. Can you believe I lost the patron saint of lost things? Somehow, he turned up missing from my keychain. Everything else was there: Kroger, Akard’s, the library — everything but St. Anthony. I thought about singing, “Tony, Tony,” but decided instead to head back to the Catholic Gift shop. I’m taking no chances. Just don’t tell the Methodists.