Fr. Mark’s St. Anthony Story

Fr. Mark Soehner at desk

Fr. Mark Soehner at his desk at St. Francis Seraph Friary

Peace of mind

Did you ever lose something? It’s easy to misplace a set of keys, an important document, or a treasured item. That’s what St. Anthony is for!

walletWednesday morning I had a doctor’s appointment. I attended morning Mass at St. Francis Seraph where the Provincial staff and I have our offices. I left Mass right after communion because I realized that my time was tight. I had a number of materials to take to the doctor. In the transfer of items, I temporarily set my wallet on top of the car, and because I was late, forgot it. Only when I reached the doctor’s office did I realize I no longer had my wallet. I began to pray: St. Anthony, please, return to me the wallet that I foolishly lost!

Fr. Dan Anderson, OFM

Fr. Dan Anderson, OFM

Initially I thought I had somehow left it in the garage, but that proved not to be true. Then the sickening feeling of that little unexplained thud as I drove down Liberty Street flooded my memory. I searched high and low down the street, but came up empty-handed. I quickly moved from sickened to panicky.

Luckily I had copies of my credit cards and driver’s license. The cards were cancelled. Within an hour, the Provincial Secretary Fr. Dan Anderson drove me to the BMV and I had a temporary license proclaiming me ready to drive. David O’Brien, CFO for the Province, gave me a copy of my Province Medical Card. Communications Director Toni Cashnelli reminded me to call the police – even for a lost item.

David and Toni

David O’Brien and Toni Cashnelli

Back to St. Anthony. I did not find my wallet, but I found something better: peace of mind. This item, which seems so essential, was lost. But it made me reassess all the important items in my wallet – and all that was on my To Do list that day. This became a focal “incident” in my Lent of 2019. I realized that God was calling me to a deeper intimacy as a friend: not only to share with Him my successes, but especially my failures—and the feelings that go with those. Gently he began to help me lose some of my drivenness to succeed, and to find His Desire to bring consolation. I began to believe again, on a practical level, in a Power Greater Than Myself.

I was grateful for Fr. Dan, who is a calming presence. David made it seem that everyone does this kind of thing. A personal story from Toni led her to remind me to make a police report. God is so good to surround me with many good people. I may have lost my wallet – and my mind – for a time. But with God and St. Anthony’s help, I found this consolation that continued through Lent and into Easter. My real treasure lies with God’s Presence in all my experiences.

(Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, is the Provincial Minister for the Province of St. John the Baptist.)