The term "St. Anthony's Bread" refers to the practice of giving alms as thanksgiving for favors received through the intercession of St. Anthony. During the 13th century in the Italian town of Padua, a young child fell into a barrel of water and drowned. The mother invoked St. Anthony and promised to donate grain equal to the child's weight if her life was spared. The prayer was heard, and the promise was kept.
In 1890, a French shopkeeper was having trouble with a broken lock. When the only solution seemed to be breaking the door or window, the young woman invoked St. Anthony with the promise that, if the lock would open without damaging the shop, she would give loaves of bread to the poor. Once again, the prayer was heard, and the promise was kept. The shop soon became a center of devotion to St. Anthony and of alms for the poor.