Northern Ireland news

St Anthony, patron saint of lost things, named most favourite in poll at National Ploughing Championships

People visiting the relics of St Anthony at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin  
John Breslin

St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, was named the favourite in a poll carried out during the National Ploughing Championships last week.

The Portuguese-born Franciscan, born in 1195, was named the winner ahead of St Brigid, St Patrick, St Therese of Lisieux and the Peruvian St Martin de Porres. 

Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin, who helped organise the survey, said it was a "hugely successful initiative" that caught the imagination of those attending the three-day championships in Ratherniska, Co Laois.

Bishop Denis Nulty

"St. Anthony was the winner by a large margin. It was a hugely successful initiative that captured the imagination of great numbers attending" the championships, Bishop Nulty said.

Read more: Relics of St Anthony of Padua return to Ireland

Read more: Visit of St Anthony's relics to Derry and Armagh

"It’s very interesting to see that a saint who was dead by the age of 36 has had such a profound effect on people. People in Ireland obviously love St. Anthony, we have common cause with him, as when we lose things its St. Anthony we turn to," he added.

"Maybe we forget to say thanks when the item is recovered! So the vote is an endorsement that ‘Irelands favourite saint’ is indeed St Anthony. 

Competitors take part in the horse ploughing on day two of the National Ploughing Championships (Niall Carson/PA)
"This initiative on our Kildare and Leighlin Diocesan Stand invited people to reflect on the faith example set by saints and on the importance of praying to saints to intercede for our intentions.

"In previous years we had votes for ‘A Poem for the Ploughing’, ‘Irelands Favourite Prayer’ and last year ‘Irelands Favourite Hymn’."

Anthony, born in Lisbon, Portugal, first entered the Canons Regular of St Augustin at the age of 15 but later switched to the newly founded Franciscan Order in 1221, aged 26. He was a contemporary of St Francis of Assisi.

St Anthony

He was known as  Anthony of Padua as he spent much of his adult life in Italy, where along with Spain and France he is also regarded as the patron saint of sailors.


Northern Ireland news