Ever since praying a novena to St. Joseph 3 years ago asking for his intercession to help sell our home in a tough market I have come to know first-hand how much St. Joseph cares for us, his spiritual children, and the efficacy of his intercession on our behalf. But I still didn’t know that much about him or how important he is to us until I started reading Fr. Donald Calloway’s “Consecration to St. Joseph”. Not only does it provide rich insights into who St. Joseph was and is, but how much our Carmelite saints loved him! Fr. Calloway’s book is sprinkled with lovely thoughts on St. Joseph from St. Teresa of Avila, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi and others.
Here are a few quotes from the book:
“Knowing by experience St. Joseph’s astonishing influence with God, I would wish to persuade everyone to honor him with particular devotion. I have always seen those who honored him in a special manner make progress in virtue, for this heavenly protector favors in a striking manner the spiritual advancement of souls who commend themselves to him.” St. Teresa of Avila
“I prayed to St. Joseph to watch over me. From my childhood, my devotion to him was mingled with my love for the Blessed Virgin. Each day I recited the prayer, ‘O Saint Joseph, father and protector of virgins.’ It seemed to me that I was well protected and completely sheltered from every danger.” St. Therese of Lisieux
“He [St. Joseph] always favors with especial protection those souls who are enrolled beneath the standard of Mary.” “How great a share had not the glorious St. Joseph in the chalice of Jesus’ passion, by the services which he rendered to his sacred humanity!” St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
“Those who are devoted to prayer should, in a special manner, cherish devotion to St. Joseph. I know not how anyone can ponder on the sufferings, trials and tribulations the Queen of Angels endured whilst caring for Jesus in his childhood, without at the same time thanking St. Joseph for the services he rendered the Divine Child and his Blessed Mother.” St. Teresa of Avila
“I beg the great St. Joseph, in whom I have a very great confidence, to come to my aid.” St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Another story Fr. Calloway relays in his book is that St. Zelie Martin knelt before a statue of St. Joseph in St. Therese of Lisieux’s bedroom, fearing she was going to die in infancy, asking him to heal St. Therese and she was healed!
St. Joseph is powerful. One of his names is Terror of Demons. Fr. Calloway refers to him as a dragon slayer! It wasn’t a dragon he slayed in my situation but it was certainly sticky and causing our family a lot of anxiety. We had just bought a smaller home in an older section of town. Even though it was smaller, because of the area, it was more expensive than our current home. As soon as the paperwork was signed and we started the process of listing our own home, the housing market took a huge nose- dive. Houses were losing value in front of our eyes and buyers were drying up. We listed our house with next to no takers, except a few low-ball offers. We had visions of holding down two mortgages and the longer it taking our home to sell, the value steadily declining, making it impossible for us to own the home we had just bought! On my mother’s advice, I started a novena to St. Joseph. I had never asked for his intercession before. We had a deadline for offers on a certain date. Two came in at that time, both of them way below the asking price. We turned them both down. That night was very difficult. However, that day was only Day 8 of the St. Joseph novena. I told my husband that the novena wasn’t finished yet and that tomorrow was the last day. He told me it didn’t matter, because the deadline was over and we’d have to start all over again and re-list. We were woken up by a phone call from our realtor at about 6:30 a.m. the following morning. One of the buyers came back and upped their offer despite the deadline passing! It was in an acceptable range for us such that we could finance the other home we had just bought. St. Joseph worked a miracle for us and I have been forever grateful to him! A couple of years ago, when my dad, who is now a 16-year survivor of Stage 4 throat cancer, found out from his doctor that they suspected a spot on his lungs and wanted to investigate further with an MRI, we were all worried. When he survived the first cancer, he was told it would most likely come back in the lungs. My mom called and I immediately started the novena to St. Joseph. Dad’s MRI results came back clear, no spot at all!
Another thing I’ve recently found out is that my parish has a relic of St. Andre Bessette in our altar. St. Andre is the saint that started the St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal back in 1904, the largest shrine in the world dedicated to St. Joseph!
As Carmelites, we love our Blessed Mother and have an immense devotion to her. She is the patron of our Order. As I’ve discovered through reading “Consecration to St. Joseph”, we should also have a strong devotion to her Most Chaste Spouse. After all, Mary loved him wholeheartedly as did Jesus, the God-child, even being obedient to him. St. Teresa of Avila called him “tender father of my soul”. I know I’ll be calling on St. Joseph’s spiritual fatherly protection more often in these difficult times; how about you?
Corina (Formation I Candidate)