St. Joseph for the Working Man

Past Newsworthy Dads

In this podcast, Rick Sarkisian talks about the value of St. Joseph to the average working man. Sarkisian is head of LifeWork Press and author of the practical guidebooks Not Your Average Joe and Tools from St. Joseph's Workshop.

 

 


St. Joseph, Manly Patron

By Gerald Korson

Not one word of St. Joseph is recorded in the Bible, yet he has given the world much to talk about.

In theological lingo, he is Spouse of the Virgin Mary, Foster-Father of Jesus, Patriarch of the Holy Family, Patron of a Good Death, Patron of the Universal Church …

In popular devotion, his statue is the one you bury upside down in your lawn when you want to sell your house – and this strange intercession is being used by even non-Catholics in the current bear real estate market.

Yet there is another, more manly side to St. Joseph that has touched the hearts of saints and sinners over the centuries. St. Teresa of Avila said that he was the patron not just of one cause, but of all causes, for he cared dearly for all human needs. He is known to work miracles.

For the feast of St. Joseph (March 19th), Fathers for Good asked a handful of average Catholic men how St. Joseph has touched their lives. You’ll be amazed at their stories.

Auto de Faith

For Christopher Blunt, St. Joseph is a life-saver – literally.

“I was born on the feast of St. Joseph, so I have always felt a special connection to him,” Blunt said.

On the day he turned 24, while driving en route from Detroit to Chicago, Blunt ran into a freak snowstorm that led to a horrific accident in which a jackknifed tractor-trailer hit his car and crushed it against a guardrail. Then a second semi-trailer slammed into the rear of his vehicle, leaving it mangled beyond recognition, with Blunt inside.

 

The Blunt Family

“Amazingly, I walked away with only cuts and bruises. None of the emergency responders could believe anyone had survived the crash,” Blunt said. “Only when talking to the police and filling out forms did I realize where I was: St. Joseph, Michigan.”

Preemie Joe

Joseph Sales, who was explicitly named after the foster father of Jesus, was born into a devoutly Catholic family on July 7, 1985. The problem was that he wasn’t due until October. Born three months early and weighing just 1 lb., 15 oz., little Joseph “was really sick as a baby for 5-1/2 months,” he said.

“I think that St. Joseph has had a big part to play in my survival in this world,” said Sales, a member of the Knights of Columbus in Chatham, Ontario. “I believe I was named Joseph for a reason, in honor of this great and holy man.” St. Joseph remains one of his favorite saints today, and he prays to him every morning and evening along with his daily prayers and rosary.

Living in St. Joseph

Tim Drake was a young Lutheran when he first began to pray to St. Joseph. A classmate in elementary school had a prayer card of St. Joseph on his dresser, and when Tim took an interest in it, the friend gave him the card.

“From time to time in high school and college, at times of great need, I would use the prayer on the card,” Drake said. But it was not until much later — after he was married, had children, and was taking Catholic inquiry classes — that he took a more consistent shine to the saint.

 

The Drake Family

When he attended a lecture on St. Joseph, “I was impressed with how Joseph, the just man, quietly went about his work as spouse to the Virgin Mary and foster-father to the child Jesus,” he recalled. “As a husband and father, I thought he would be a perfect patron.”

So impressed was Drake that he chose Joseph as his confirmation name and asked the priest whether he could be received into the faith even before the traditional Easter Vigil service. When the priest told him to “pick a date,” he naturally chose March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph.

“Today, St. Joseph’s role in my life continues,” said Drake, now a prominent Catholic journalist and author. “We have a painting of St. Joseph in our living room, and I frequently ask for his intercession in my role as a husband and father. As a family, we say a prayer to St. Joseph at the conclusion of our daily Rosary. And last, but not least, we live in the city of St. Joseph, Minnesota.”

Patron of Home-Sellers?

Many are the stories of those who believe that burying a statue of St. Joseph in their yard will help them sell their house. Some say it really works (see “Related Articles” on this page).

When Kevin Wendt of Reading, Pa., converted to Catholicism as an adult, he took St. Joseph as his patron. Even so, when his wife, Christine, urged him to bury a St. Joseph statue when they were trying to sell their home, he was more than skeptical.

 

The Wendt Family

“That is just stupid,” Kevin remembered thinking. “I wanted to show my wife that it was just folklore. So I got the cheapest statue I could find and did my duty to make my wife proud.”

The day before — before — the house was to be listed for sale, the Wendts received an offer for $5,000 more than they were asking. Kevin still shakes his head in amazement. “Sometimes God does that stuff to just say, ‘Ha, I got ya!” he said.

In the Wendt household, St. Joseph is so popular that he is even putting the squeeze on St. Anthony, who traditionally is the saint to ask help for finding lost articles.

“My kids now look around for lost items, sometimes for an hour, to find that special shoe, cell phone, or book they need for homework,” Kevin related. “I tell them to ask St. Joseph. Most of the time, before they can even finish the sentence, they ‘stumble’ across the item. He then becomes a hero — in the case of my family of seven, a decorated hero.”

Jobs and Finances

The world’s most famous carpenter has also earned a reputation for helping folks who are going through financial struggles or employment transitions.

Greg Winters, now an EMS instructor in Dallas, a few years ago found himself dissatisfied and frustrated with a stressful job situation. Taking the afternoon off one day, he visited the Oblate Missions Lourdes Grotto in San Antonio and strolled the grounds, wondering what he should do. As he did so, he happened upon a statue of St. Joseph.

 

The Winters Family

“I suddenly remembered that he is also known as St. Joseph the Worker,” Winters recalled. “So I asked St. Joseph for his intercession and prayers for my career, and then went on to pray the rosary.”

The following Monday, seemingly out of the blue, he was offered a new job in another city that would allow him more time to spend with his wife and son and would move them closer to their extended family. He took the offer.

“After arriving in our new town, we went to Mass with my mother-in-law,” Winters said. “And guess what parish it was? St. Joseph.”

Father Figure

“St. Joseph is a wise intercessory choice for businessmen who are fathers and husbands,” said David Ross, a Dallas-area real-estate broker who also speaks and teaches locally on Church history and life issues. “This combines the triple facets of the saint into a single inspiration for the married man who earns a living for his family through his own hard work.”

Blunt, the miraculous car-crash survivor, said St. Joseph “absolutely” helps him in his role as a husband to Alana and father to their three children. “Spending time in prayer, thinking about how St. Joseph might approach a given situation, has been a great help in embracing the unexpected sacrifices that God sends as part-and-parcel of family life,” he said.

For Wendt, the intercession of St. Joseph has truly deepened his faith and trust in God.

“He’s the real thing,” he said of St. Joseph. “I’ve been made a believer through my doubts and growth in the faith. I look at the many gifts that come along with being Catholic. I’ve also given up trying to understand them. It’s much easier to just believe, let them happen, and marvel at them when they do. Let God take care of the rest!”

Gerald Korson is the editor of The Wonders of Lourdes (Magnificat, 2008) and a contributing writer to Amazing Grace for Fathers (Ascension Press, 2006).

Click here to read Pope John Paul II's letter on St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Custos).