“Devotion to St. Joseph was a hallmark of St. Teresa of Avila. Teresa attributed her miraculous cure to Saint Joseph. When she was living in the Incarnation Convent in Avila, she was struck with an ailment that left her half-dead. She was paralyzed and was presumed dead at one point. She prayed and prayed to Joseph and her prayers were answered.”2
The Catholic Church is fond of devotions and has always used them for the spiritual well-being of her sons and daughters. Many devotions are very popular, for example devotion to the Sacred Heart or to the Divine Mercy. Some of them never cease to be popular: their “popularity” has a strong foundation in good theology. In fact, one could even say that they are popular because they are sound, that is well-grounded on piety which is an expression of good theology.
My Institute honors St. Joseph in a special way. We profess a fourth vow to our Blessed Mother, but we cannot neglect the one who protected her on earth. We have always looked at him as a provident protector, as someone who provides for the means we need in daily life but also to perform our apostolate. At least once a year in preparation for his feast on March 19 (March 20 this year), we pray the thirty days devotion to St. Joseph, a prayer very dear to St. Teresa of Avila.
St. Joseph is a model of God’s providence. Aquinas says that “the providence of God is nothing less than the type of the order of things towards an end” (S Th 1 22 2), and St. Joseph shares in this aspect of providing to help us attain the proper ends. This makes me think of the importance of this devotion when it comes to the protection and guidance of Christian families. He is a spiritual provident father, and a great model to have for the education of children.
There is nothing better than the testimony of the saint from Avila to instill in us a great desire to be devout to St. Joseph:
“I took for my advocate and lord the glorious Saint Joseph and commended myself earnestly to him; and I found that this my father and lord delivered me both from this trouble and also from other and greater troubles concerning my honor and the loss of my soul, and that he gave me greater blessings than I could ask of him. I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which He has freed me, both in body and in soul.” (Autobiography Chapter 6).
May the Lord bless us all. Mary and Joseph, protect us.
Here’s the link to my latest book released on February 22, 2023:
You won’t be able to link directly from this Reflection page, but you can cut and paste into your browser or search manually. www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-9315-2
2 See https://carmelourladysdovecote.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/st-teresas-devotion-to-st-joseph/, accessed on March 14, 2023.