Saint Joseph

Servant par excellence

We cannot help but admire the stark simplicity and poverty of Joseph’s end. We know where the patriarchs were buried: Scripture tells us the resting places of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… We are told nothing about Joseph: no trace of him remains on earth. On account of this silence some claim that he was taken up into Heaven. Yet we can interpret this silence in a different way and understand that it helps us to discover Joseph’s spiritual poverty —the poverty of this father who exercised so unique an authority and who is truly the servant par excellence —the servant of the New Covenant, gentle and faithful but dispensable. – – Father Marie-Dominique Philippe ‘The Mystery of St Joseph




There are two limits to human attention: that of the man who falls asleep, yielding himself to the biological wisdom hidden in the innermost recesses of his being and which alone can restore him in depth; and that of the man who touches the edges of ‘ecstasy’ because he has caught a glimpse of beauty, of love, of true prayer.  When man forgets himself to become attention, this other mysterious being, “the Holy Spirit, intercedes with sights too deep for words, praying for what man does not know how to ask” as the Apostle says. –Andrew Doze “Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father”

St Joseph, dally greeter

St Joseph, dally greeter


Ode to Joseph / Joseph and Lent

To learn to live in Nazareth means to discover again the secrets that the prophets of Israel like Isiah, for instance, suggested: “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused” (Is 30:15).

Conversion, tearing away from the falsified world of evil and deceit is Joseph’s specialty, Joseph who makes us “die” to the folly of sin. The calm state of the obedient and inhabited heart is that of Mary subjected to her husband. The perfect trust in the love of the Father is what Jesus lived for us. –Father Andrew Doze “Joseph: Shadow of the Father”



Stories within St Joseph

Words from Abbot William’s autobiography “A Calling”

One fulfilling event while living in Montreal was the opportunity to visit that especially holy place called the Oratory of Saint Joseph.  A special grace granted me all during these years, along with the grace to desire adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, has been my abiding devotion to Saint Joseph.  Dear Saint Joseph has always been there for me and always seems to be with me.  I have this connection despite a very real characteristic of Saint Joseph, which is that he sees to it that one has all that one needs but not all that one wants.  I have never found this a difficulty in my love for, devotion for, and dependence on him.  Nonetheless, it is important to understand this aspect of St Joseph, less one become discouraged.  I accept this aspect of my relationship with him and have long realized that while he is taking the best care of me, he does not interfere with the crosses that Heaven wishes to send.  I was once sharing my devotion to Saint Joseph with some teaching Sisters of Saint Joseph.  “Oh,” they said almost in unison, “he’s always so slow.”  My surprise left me without comment.

Until I came to Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, I do not remember ever having been graced with any special “experiences” of the spiritual or mystical life, that is, any special religious endeavors, outpourings, or phenomena of any kind.  While frequently visiting the glorious shrine of Saint Joseph’s Basilica, I would go alone, walk about the whole area, viewing everything pertaining to wonderful Saint Brother Andre.  I would then kneel before the altar of Saint Joseph to pour out my heart.  It was there as nowhere else that I was given an overwhelming conviction that, first, all would turn out well; and, second, that he, Saint Joseph, would be there for me.  It is now over fifty years since this grace.  It seems as only yesterday.  The proof of this experience is its fulfillment through these many years. 


Mary already knew that her virginity was better safeguarded within her matrimony to Joseph than it would be even in her single life.  Now she is assured by the heavenly messenger that her pure, holy bond with Joseph will become much purer and holier.  That is why she humbly accepts her own and her Husband’s role in the order of the Hypostatic Union, saying to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.”  At this, Mary’s explicit and Joseph’s implicit Fiat, the Word was made flesh and became our Emmanuel, “God with us.”   ‘St Joseph the Virginal Father of Jesus’, J. Ivan Prcela.


May 1st is the Feast day of Saint Joseph as Model of Workers.  It is my son’s birthday.

Altruistic caregiver,
One who sacrifices for the Sacrifice,
An origin, a birth-line,
Benevolent custodian loving and kind,
Uncrowned king teaching a practical little way,
Exquisite, ingenious, simple, divine,
Father and guardian,
A nurturing source,
Knowing while never raising your voice,
Moment by moment a provider,
Three standing as one,
The Holy Family,
Mary knew you,
Mary loved you,
You were her man,
Jesus adored you,
Looking up to you,
Laughing and playing,
Running and jumping,
Learning to be humbly with us,
He lived as your joyous son!


The Man of the House

A poem by the turn of the century Irish poet Katherine Tynan

Joseph, honored from sea to sea,
This is your name that pleases me,
“Man of the House”

I see you rise at the dawn and light
The fire and blow till the flame is bright.

I see you take the pitcher and carry
The deep well-water for Jesus and Mary.

You knead the corn for the bread so fine,
Gather them grapes from the hanging vine.

There are little feet that are soft and slow,
Follow you wherever you go.

There’s a little face at your workshop door,
A little one sits down on your floor:

Holds His hands for the shaving curled,
The soft little hands that have made the world.

Mary calls you: the meal is ready:
You swing the child to your shoulder steady.

I see your quiet smile as you sit
And watch the little Son thrive and eat.

The vine curls by the window space,
The wings of angels cover the face.

Up in the rafters, polished and olden,
There’s a Dove that broods and his wings are golden.

You who kept Them through shine and storm,
A staff, a shelter kindly and warm,

Father of Jesus, husband of Mary,
Hold us your lilies for sanctuary!

Joseph, honored from sea to sea,
Guard mine and my own roof-tree,
“Man of the House”