20 March 2006

Solemnity of St. Joseph

In addition to being the patron saint of the Universal Church, St. Joseph is also the patron saint of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Buon onomastico!

We know very few "facts" about the great saint whose solemnity we celebrate today. The fact that he was the foster father of Jesus, however, is most significant. God entrusted his only son to be the son of Joseph on earth. That alone is reason to be certain that St. Joseph was a virtuous and holy man.

There are many different devotions and customs that accompany the celebration of St. Joseph. He has earned himself the patronage of so many different occupations, situations, countries, dioceses, etc., that it would consume this whole blog post to list them. Among the great variety of "responsibilities" are carpenters and wheelwrights, pregnant women, pioneers, those who are dying as well as those who are selling a house.

Many people have heard of the tradition of burying a statue of St. Joseph up-side down, likely started by St. Teresa of Avila, who encouraged a devotion of St. Joseph to acquire land for new convents. (This is not a mere superstition -- ask someone who has tried it and you may be surprised how effective it is.) This patron saint of a happy death has been buried more times than perhaps anyone else.

As a community, we have been making a perpetual novena to St. Joseph for the special intention of the renovation of our monastery. To learn more about our renovation project, click here or stay tuned for "moving pictures" and tales from our temporary quarters. Here below is the novena we have been using:

O glorious St. Joseph, we most humbly beg of you, by the love and care you had for Jesus and Mary to take our affairs, spiritual and temporal, into your hands. Direct them to the greater glory of God and give us the grace to do and accept His holy will. Amen

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