My brief mention of St. Francis of Assisi the other day reminded me of a funny story regarding saints, real estate, and MILlie.
A few years ago, we were trying to sell our house, and MILlie, an elderly friend of ours, mentioned to us that there was a saint who could help us with this. She claimed that, if we buried the saint upside down in our yard, we would quickly get an offer on our house.
Even after it was clarified that we should probably bury a STATUE of the saint, instead of the actual saint, I was still skeptical. I had grown up in the Catholic Church, and had never heard of this practice. I can be a little irreverent sometimes, but this sounded downright sacrilegious. Weren’t the saints treated badly enough when they were alive?
I consulted a few other upstanding Catholics, and some members of the real estate field, and they all confirmed MILlie’s claims.
A couple of weeks later, MILlie presented us with a statue of our very own to bury in the yard. As luck would have it, we did not even have the chance to bury the statue before we got a bid on the house.
A couple of weeks later, a good friend of mine was desperate to sell her house. Her husband had been transferred unexpectedly, and they had a short turnaround time before they needed to move. I gave her the statue, and told her the story.
The next weekend, MILlie visited. In her hand was a new statue, different saint.
“I gave you the wrong saint,” she said. “You’re supposed to bury St. Joseph.”
“What saint did you give us?” I asked.
“Well, what does he do?”
“I don’t know, but it’s St. Joseph you’re supposed to bury in the yard for an offer on your house.”
After we explained to MILlie that we already had a good offer on the house, she still convinced us to keep St. Joseph – “just in case.”
As soon as she left, I did a little research on the internet about Saint Anthony. Then I called my friend.
“Uh, remember that statue I gave you to bury in the front yard? Did you, uh, do that?”
“Yeah, why? I figured we could use all the help we can get.”
“Hmm. Well, uh, it’s the wrong saint. Apparently, you’re supposed to bury St. Joseph, not St. Anthony.”
“O.K. So, you gave me St. Anthony? What does he do?”
I mumbled my response.
“What? I don’t think I heard you right.”
“Well, it’s an honest mistake. People also bury him in the front yard. But you probably don’t need to do that. He’s the ‘matchmaking saint’.”
“O.K. Well. You bury him in the front yard if you’re trying to find a husband.”
Silence. Did I mention my friend wasn’t exactly thrilled about this sudden transfer her husband had gotten?
“I think I might just leave St. Anthony there for awhile,” she finally said.
I hung up, hoping that I wasn’t going to be held responsible for any unintended consequences of a case of mistaken saint identity.
I’m pretty sure that’s not at the top of my List of Transgressions, though.