The force was with Yoda

by Sandy Koenig –

Yoda is now two years old and hasn’t lost his special charm. He keeps an eye on things from his perch on top of the refrigerator. Yoda and Checkers were moved inside after the ordeal.

Like many Catholics, I have often called upon Saint Anthony of Padua, known as “the finder of lost things”, when I have misplaced something. Usually a thought will go through my head or I will recall something that leads me to the lost item. This confirms to me that Heaven cares about the smallest details of our lives even when they are seemingly unimportant in the grand scheme of the universe and eternal salvation.

Two years ago, our family adopted a 5-month-old kitten as a companion to another kitten that had wandered into our yard. We live in the country surrounded by hundreds of acres of land. With three cats and two dogs already in our house, we created a space in the garage with an opening in the door so the two would have a safe and warm place with plenty to eat even as “outdoor” cats. Yoda and Checkers soon became part of the family.

Yoda was different, however. We began to notice his playful and fearless demeanor, especially when he approached one of the older cats or dogs to play. Unlike Checkers, he didn’t understand what it meant if they hissed, growled or swatted at him to leave them alone.

“Yoda doesn’t get it,” my daughter said. He didn’t seem to have the instincts of most animals. Soon, he became our special needs cat, which made us more attentive and protective toward him.

One day we noticed Yoda was missing. We walked our woods calling for him. As night approached and the next morning he still was missing, I cried and began praying to St. Anthony.

One week stretched into two. It was hunting season and the hunters in our woods saw no sign of him. My husband assumed he was dead – eaten by a wolf – but I refused to accept that.

I kept thinking, “check with the neighbors,” but never got around to taking action as it was a busy time. Soon I got a text from my sister who was on a tour to Fatima and was in Lisbon, Portugal, visiting the Church of St. Anthony where the saint was born: “Any word from Yoda?”

“No,” I replied.

“I just venerated St. Anthony’s 800-year-old relic (a bone fragment),” she texted back. “I told him ‘you know where Yoda is. Please bring him home.’”

Then my other sister texted from her home in Germany that she was praying to St. Joseph for Yoda’s safe return.

Later at church that morning, my father-in-law told me there was a black and white cat in his yard. That’s when I realized Yoda may very well have wandered far beyond our property and I told my husband we needed to start checking with the neighbors.

It was a beautiful sunny day, which prompted us to start a search. We showed a picture of Yoda to neighbors. The second one we visited recognized him and said she drove him about five miles out of the area and dropped him off by some farms, hoping he would wander to one. She took us to where she dropped him off and we started knocking on doors in the area. No one was home at one of houses, but on our way back home my husband noticed the garage door open, so we stopped in. Sure enough Yoda had been in their yard and they had driven him up the road about a mile away.

We went to the houses in that area. One man recognized Yoda as the one that was playing with their Rottweiler dog. ‘That would be Yoda,’ I thought, ‘unafraid and clueless.’

He recommended we check with the farm across the street. When we approached the family, they told us their daughter had been feeding a cat in the barn.

“Our dog hates cats and rips them apart, but he played with this one,” they related.

When their daughter came out of the barn with a kitty, it was Yoda!

St. Anthony put everything together that led us to Yoda—truly a miraculous recovery for this charismatic kitty that played with a Rottweiler and a “killer dog.” For all we know he played with a pack of wolves during his journey, too.

Nothing escapes God’s notice. The heavenly “force” was truly with Yoda, watching over him as he wandered farther away from the safety of our home. Surely God cares even more about the lost souls on earth and keeps a protective eye on each one of them. I pray often to St. Anthony to find and return these lost souls to God.

Celebrate St. Anthony’s feast day on June 13

St. Anthony of Padua, also known as St. Anthony of Lisbon, was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195. He became a Franciscan friar and was known for his supreme gift of preaching and teaching. He was sent to Bologna where he drew the attention of the founder of the order, St. Francis of Assisi. Francis assigned him to help teach the younger members of the order. The two saints became very close, sharing the same vision of the order. St. Anthony died at the age of 35 on June 13, 1231 as he was returning to Padua.

The saint is invoked as the finder of lost or stolen things because of an incident that occurred in Bologna. Anthony had a psalter that was very valuable to him because it contained his notes and comments used in teaching his students. A novice who had decided to leave took the psalter with him. After Anthony prayed that it would be found or returned, the novice was moved to restore the book to Anthony and return to the Order. The stolen book is said to be preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna.


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