Buying a first home in Auckland is probably one of the most stressful things you can do as a young adult. I was at the end of my tether and almost ready to give up, when a family member sent me a copy of the novena to St Joseph – patron saint of home buyers and sellers (among many other things I would later find out).
I was a cradle-Catholic, who at the time had no idea what a novena was! But I was at the point where I willing to give anything a go. Just reading the novena had me intrigued about this popular saint who I knew very little about. The ‘Terror of Demons’, ‘Patron of the Dying’ who we ask for ‘the grace of a happy death’ and that we ‘may die as he did in arms of Jesus and Mary’.
Each of the nine days I would discover a new title he held, learn more about how powerful his intercession is, his ‘pure, humble, charitable mind and perfect resignation to the Divine will’. I was so taken by this novena, and this saint who was clearly doing something in my heart, that I was starting to let go of the stress of the home buying process and feeling more at peace.
There was a house I viewed the weekend prior to ending the novena which I liked, but thought it was definitely out of my budget. The auction was only three days later, yet I managed to complete all the checks prior to that time and turned up to the auction with low expectations. Well what do you know? I walked away that day the owner of a home better than I thought I could afford – on the very day I completed Day 9 of my very first novena to St Joseph!
This was the starting point to my heart becoming more open to getting to know the saints and what it means to ask for their intercession. For context I should mention that as a kid growing up in a Protestant school, Catholics were mocked for Mary/saint "worship", and not knowing better myself I would shrink away embarrassed, wondering if it were true. This experience left a deep impact on me, and it took this gentle, but powerful invitation from St Joseph to help me become receptive to the beautiful teachings of our faith in this area.
Some months passed and I remember getting to a point where I now felt so ready to be married and I was getting restless about meeting my future husband. I can’t explain it, it wasn’t the usual impatience, but it felt like a call to specific prayer for this intention.
Without thinking twice I knew it had to be another novena to St Joseph. Who else would I ask but ‘St Joseph, Most Loving Husband’ and head of the Holy Family to pray for me? I kept the intention simple, I just asked for a man who is like St Joseph – oh and that I would meet him by the end of the year (because I am not the most patient person!).
Mum and I started praying this novena at the start of August. A couple of weeks later I attended an event held at St Joseph’s parish in Takapuna. At the end of the evening there was a young man there in need of a ride to the ferry. Having met him a couple of times I had formed an interest but hadn’t had much opportunity to talk to him, including that evening. Since the ferry was on my way home I quickly offered him a ride, knowing I would at least have some time in the car to talk to him.
Long story short, he missed his ferry and we sat in the ferry terminal chatting over a drink for what felt like five hours (it was only 30 minutes). We shared so much on our family values, our hopes and dreams and about ourselves in general, that I walked away that night absolutely terrified because I knew with such certainty deep in my heart that I had met my future husband.
I thought I was a crazy person feeling this way after only one proper conversation. I also had no idea how he felt either! When I got home I ran to my parents to tell them what happened and my mum listened quietly. When I finished she simply said that she had just spent the evening on her knees clutching a statue of St Joseph asking him to pray for me that I would meet my husband there that night.
OK so I felt a little less crazy! Over the course of the next week we were in a relationship. Two weeks later we agreed it was clear this was leading to marriage, and within six weeks we were engaged. St Joseph had clearly answered my intention – remember I asked to meet my husband before the end of the year? Be careful what you ask for with St Joseph, he tends to over-deliver! I would also find out that my wonderful Adam is very much like St Joseph. What more could you ask for in a husband?
We were married within five months, and from the start St Joseph has been one of the beloved patron saints of our family. Over the years he has been a powerful intercessor for us including securing jobs for my husband (did you know he’s also the patron saint of workers?).
“There are many saints to whom God has given the power to assist us in the necessities of life, but the power given to St. Joseph is unlimited: It extends to all our needs, and all those who invoke him with confidence are sure to be heard.” - St Thomas Aquinas
While it’s great when prayers are answered, it hasn’t been about what he can do for us – he has been continually inviting us to get to know him and to know Jesus through him too. They say that certain saints choose you, and it definitely has felt that way to me with St Joseph. Beautiful readings and reflections have come across our path about him, just when I think I couldn’t love him more I am proved wrong by learning something new.
The most recent of which has been the Consecration to St Joseph that Adam and I recently completed together. This has been game changing for me in terms of understanding the true role of St Joseph, not just in the Holy Family, but as father to us all as Patron of the Universal Church.
There is so much I want to share from this experience, and I will probably do another post specifically on the consecration later in the year. You may be familiar with Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary and this follows the same 33 days of preparation formula. But to give you more of an idea of what to expect, the book is laid out in a beautiful format based on the Litany of St Joseph. Fr Calloway spends each of the 33 days of preparation by reflecting on each title of St Joseph mentioned in the litany. There are also in-depth readings which accompany each reflection, in which I learned so much about my favourite saint.
It blew my mind, the stories about him and the Saints and popes who championed devotion him, including St Teresa of Avila, Venerable Fulton Sheen, St Josemaría Escrivá, St John Paul II, and Bl. Pope Pius IX to name just a few. Each day my love for my spiritual father grew stronger along with the realisation that his powerful intercession and strong example of a virtuous life is exactly what the Church needs in these dark times.
Why entrust ourselves to St Joseph? Is it an acceptable thing to do? Not only is it acceptable, but it is something Jesus himself did! If the goal of the Christian life is to become like Christ, I can’t think why we wouldn’t follow His example.
“Jesus, living under the roof of St. Joseph and being his Son, gave us a personal example of total entrustment to St. Joseph.” - Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC
As we approach the Solemnity of St Joseph this Friday, I invite you to consider growing your relationship with St Joseph and getting to know more about this amazing saint. The next consecration preparation begins on 30 March, ending with consecration on the feast of St Joseph the Worker. For further information see the official website here.
St Joseph, Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.