The writing of “S.A.G.” (Saint Anthony Guide) on envelopes has its roots in a miracle. St. Anthony is well known as the Franciscan Friar who finds lost articles, but this is not the reason for the pious custom of giving him charge of our mail. In the early eighteenth century, a certain merchant sailed from Spain to Peru. His wife wrote him several letters, but never received a reply. At length, being at the end of her material sustenance and without hearing from her husband, she invoked the aid of Saint Anthony with childlike confidence. In the Franciscan church in Oviedo, she placed another letter to her husband into the hand of a large statue of the saint, begging him to have it safely delivered. She later returned to the church, and seeing the paper still in the statue’s hand, she began complaining to St. Anthony for not living up to her confidence. A priest, hearing her cries, came to see what the problem was. Upon hearing the story, he asked her to get the letter, for the statue would not relinquish it to him. The woman reached up for the letter, and not only could she take it easily, but several gold pieces fell to the floor. To her joy, the letter was not hers, but an entirely different letter from her husband, who expressed concern about not hearing from her sooner. He also related that a Franciscan father had brought his wife’s letter and had promised to deliver the reply. The letter may still be still be seen at Oviedo and is dated Lima, July 23, 1729.
As an aside to the above story, we note that St. Anthony, a Doctor of the Church, is not just someone who finds lost goods and delivers mail quickly. Because of his powerful defense of the Faith, he became known as the “Hammer of Heretics.” But what he is popularly known for and his greatest accomplishments are related, for he helped heretics find the Faith they had lost!