The statue came to the US back in 1946 to be used in a parade, and stayed with the Carito family for three generations.
Saint Pantaleon is a 3rd-century saint born in Nicomedia, an ancient Greek city what is northwestern Turkey today. According to some legends woven around his figure, Pataleon studied medicine under the famed Greek physician Euphrosinos, and eventually became the Emperor’s own caregiver. Because of that, he is counted in the Western Christian tradition as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
(Although St. Pantaleon is more popular for being considered not only the patron saint of doctors, but of winning lucky numbers.)
Recently, a long-forgotten 6-ft statue of St. Pantaleon was found in probably the most unlikely of places: a closet of the third floor of a rowhouse in South Philadelphia in which Maria Concetta Carito, who arrived from the Calabrese village of Montauro back in the 1920s, had built a shrine to the saint.
The statue of St. Pantaleon had been sent from Montauro to Boston in 1946, to be paraded through the city’s streets on the saint’s feast day. The statue traveled with a committee of Italian parishioners who were in charge of it. On their way back to Italy, they stopped by to greet Mrs. Carito in Philadelphia. For unknown reasons, they left the statue under her care.
Mrs. Carito’s great-grandson, Mr. Ed Nader, who inherited the statue, is now sending it back to Montauro. Nader and his family were visiting the town on vacation, and, after a brief conversation with the mayor, they realized the statue was “actually a revered religious icon,” and that there was even “an empty shrine built into a wall of the church in Montauro where the statue was meant to go,” according to the story at NewsWorks. Sending the statue back to Montauro, said Katherine Nader, was clearly “God’s will.”