the patron of workers, fathers, carpenters.  Myself I call him the patron saint of little old ladies who have old houses.  A saint barely mentioned in the New Testament but remembered richly and deeply in the tradition of the Church.

Many people made me – carefully and with precision.  That I may have disappointed their hopes for me has naught to do with them – we all live in the world which often crushes us.  And in the long run, I’ve turned out well – okay.

Those people – my maternal grandmother, my mother, my aunts, my youth’s closest friend all had devotions to St. Joseph – thus so do I.  My mother had a framed photo of him in our kitchen – and often spoke out loud to him during the day – thus so do I.  My friend had a statue of him in her home and at her wedding put her bouquet in front of his statue instead of the Blessed Mother – quite the stir in church.  I try to keep fresh flowers before his picture (it was my mother’s) during the summer and Fall and also take roses from my garden to his statue in Church.  My son was born in St. Joseph’s Hospital.

One of my favorite St. Joseph stories is a Garrison Keilor one.  Jesus said to Joseph:  I don’t have to listen to you – you’re not my father.

On this date, Italians have a St. Joseph table.  My Aunt Tee always had one full of really good food – no process stuff and good wine.  Now, I think:  how did she afford it – it’s not easy to have parties now or then.  But she found the money – and anyone who wanted to come came – door open all day.  God rest her soul.  I grew up in Little Italy in Chicago – there was a gentle sort of competition amongst the Irish (St. Paddy’s Day) and the Italians (St. Joseph) as to celebration in the City.

I have studied theological theory and understand that many people consider hagiography a superstition.  It is what it is – but I have an obligation to my family and my traditions.  More importantly, I believe in my own way.  I’m off to purchase Zeppolini, a traditional pastry for the Feast Day.  And I think I’ll have a day off from blogging and worrying and fretting and being angry – and just let the good Saint protect me as I go about my garden work.  This short diary is a thank you to him.  We are both of us among friends here.

So to all on Docudharma – Happy Saint Joseph’s Day.  A man pictured as old with a beard and a lilly (we get the Church’s politics).  Now his image is more of a young, handsome strong man who transcends the politics of the Church and represents a good man who worked hard to keep his family safe during difficult times (as all times are) and who cherished his wife and son.  



  1. Im not Italian and its not in my personal repertoire, but… have a good day of respite…


  2. and knew a couple of Josephs, nearby, Catholics both, father and son, who embodied every good feeling and depth of humility I can imagine about humans and organized religion; not that they were pushovers in daily life; quite the opposite; but in their depths.  Faith (and Feasts!) was central to their lives, not mine, and we got along more than okay, to the point where participating in a rosary with them, and only them, simply because they wanted me there – I was extended the honor as “a part of the family” – not only did not seem strange, but honorable, if incredibly humbling.  It might seem or be blasphemous, but they prayed to God, and I prayed to them.  I’ll never forget that.

    So, Happy Feast of St. Joseph, indeed.

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