Who Was St. Joseph?

who-was-st.-joseph2“He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord’”     -St. Bernardine of Siena

 “The spirit flows to you and to all men from the heart of the God-man, Savior of the world, but certainly, no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by it than the foster father of Jesus, who lived with Him in closest intimacy and community of family life and work. Thus, if you wish to be close to Christ, we again today repeat, ‘Go to Joseph’”   – Pope Pius XII


Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, Joseph is one of the three members of the Holy Family.   His actions demonstrate a strong sense of faith and love of family. 

Joseph was a carpenter by trade and made furniture and farm tools for the people of Nazareth, the town in which he and Mary settled after marrying.   In a dream, an angel told Joseph that Mary was to have a son by the power of Holy Spirit and that he was to be named Jesus.   Just weeks before the birth of the son, Joseph travelled with Mary to Bethlehem to register for the census ordered by Caesar Augustus.    It was there the child was born and named Jesus.  They returned to Nazareth, where Joseph raised and protected Jesus and Mary.  As Jesus grew, he began learning carpentry skills from Joseph. 

Joseph was declared to be the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870.  He is also the patron saint of fathers and workers and the patron of Belgium, Canada, China and Russia, among other countries.  Today, we also pray to St. Joseph to be with loved ones at the time of their death.

Two feast days are celebrated for St. Joseph.  We honor Joseph as the husband of Mary on March 19 and as the worker on May 1.