"a medal of St. Anthony hanging down"

Devotional St. Anthony medal dating from about 1930
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDevotional St. Anthony medal dating from about 1930 - Credit: Albertomos
One of the most popular of the Catholic patron saints, Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) was born Fernando Martins de Bulhões in Lisbon, Portugal, so he is sometimes called Anthony of Lisbon. A member of the Franciscan order, he preached knowledgeably and forcefully in France and Italy. Pope Gregory XI, who had known Anthony personally, had him canonized less than a year after his death, one of the fastest sainthoods in history.

Perhaps best known as the patron saint of lost items, Anthony also patronizes mariners, travelers, domestic animals, poor people, and expectant mothers. A St. Anthony medal would be expected to offer the wearer protection against shipwrecks, starvation, and sterility.

Doc Daneeka’s joke about the temptation of St. Anthony recalls the popular subject of religious paintings that refer to a different man, Saint Anthony the Great (251-356), a Christian saint from Egypt who pursued the course of an ascetic in the desert. Bosch, Grünewald, and Dali featured St. Anthony tormented by desert visions in their paintings, and Flaubert wrote a novel on the subject.