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  • Writer's pictureSr. Marita

A Reflection on Saint Joseph by Sister Marita

My mom claimed St. Joseph was Italian. She looked at me incredulously when I suggested he was not. Her belief was not so surprising. Wasn’t Joseph a familiar family member in Italian households?

Truth be told, St Joseph belongs to everyone, everywhere. He is loved and celebrated in many countries and cultures. Saint Joseph's Day is the Patronal Feast Day for Poland as well as Canada. In countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Italy, March 19th is also Fathers’ Day.

Joseph is the patron saint of the Universal Church, of workers, travelers and refugees; of fathers and families, the persecuted and the poor, the sick, the aged, and the dying. Joseph is the “go to person” for so many of us!

Other than Mary, no one is closer to God than Joseph, yet in the first 1200 years of the history of Christianity there is little record of devotion to him. Beginning in the thirteenth century, devotion to St. Joseph flourished in the sixteenth, when saints such as Teresa of Avila and Francis de Sales spoke and wrote about him. Francis de Sales declared “the impossible becomes possible” through St. Joseph’s intercession. Here is a sampling of what St. Teresa says about him:

“I took the glorious St. Joseph for my advocate and protector and commended myself earnestly to him… His aid has brought me more good than I could ever hope for. I do not remember once having asked anything of him that was not granted... I know from experience that this glorious Saint Joseph helps in each and every need.”

Completely open to the mysterious designs of God, Joseph’s faith, hope, love and trust shine out in the Gospels as do his fortitude and courage in guiding and protecting Jesus and Mary. Just as he cared for them with watchful, strong and gentle care, he now cares for the Church, the Body of Christ, for each of us.

Carmelite Fr. Michael Griffin encourages prayer to Joseph to gain a better understanding of a genuine Christian life, a life lived in Christ, with Christ, and for Christ. Might not this be a good practice for each of us during this season of Lent?


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