After spending decades in a Philadelphia closet—a bit like an inanimate Harry Potter—an almost life-size statue of Saint Pantaleon is being returned to the church in Southern Italy that it was taken from.
Saint Pantaleon is a Christian saint from the 3rd and 4th centuries who is still popularly celebrated in Italy as the patron saint of doctors. In religious fashion, the statue shows the saint dying in agony while tied to a tree. And it was just by luck that the statue ended up living in Philadelphia for more than half a century.
According to Newsworks, the statue has its roots in the town of Montauro, in southern Italy. The statue was sent to the U.S. in 1946 to be used in a parade on the saint’s feast day. Eventually, they traveled to Philadelphia with it, and for whatever reason, they decided to leave it with Maria Concetta Carito, who put it on display in her house, where it spooked every generation of her family since.
Ed Nader, Carito’s great-grandson, recently discovered that the statue belonged to the church in Montauro, while he was visiting in the town. Nader is planning to return the statue on his own dime.
“It is God’s will,” Nader’s wife Kathleen told Newsworks. “I never questioned it. It’s just, like — yes — that’s what we do. We send it back.”