Saint Joseph: a model for the modern age

A statue of Saint Joseph in front of Augustine Hall. Photo by Emma Powers.

“Mirror of patience, lover of poverty, glory of domestic life, pray for us.” -Litanies of Saint Joseph

March 19 was the feast day of one of the quietest men in the history of the Church: Saint Joseph. Although he is a third of the Holy Family, Saint Joseph is often overlooked and forgotten. Much can be learned from this holy man, whether in his humility, his devotion, or his loving servitude.

Whether you are religious or not, St. Joseph is an example of what it means to live a life of hard work and service to others.

One of the best-known traits of Saint Joseph was his patience. In the book “Consecration to Saint Joseph”, Donald Calloway describes Saint Joseph as “always peaceful, kind, calm and abandoned to Divine Providence”.

Whether in his work as a carpenter or in his journeys with Mary, Saint Joseph is always described as trusting in the Lord to lead them on the right path. It illustrates what it really means to wait, even when the situation may seem hopeless.

We live in a time very different from that of the Holy Family. While Mary and Joseph traveled for months to reach Nazareth, we can book a flight online. We have the technology at our fingertips and the ability to go almost anywhere in the world in hours.

As a result, we have become conditioned to expect to get what we want, when we want it. With so many advances, one rarely considers developing the practice of patience.

It seems that our modern definition of patience revolves around waiting for a task to be completed. Patience is more than just waiting for an app to load or a message to be sent. Patience is forgiving someone after they’ve been hurt and forgiving them again when they hurt you again.

Patience is also the key to accepting the faults of others. It allows us to understand that no one is perfect and that everyone needs time to grow.

Saint Joseph modeled this patience day after day. He lived with the only two people in the world who were perfect, but those he met outside his home weren’t perfect. It was in these situations that he probably had to practice the most patience.

When we view Jesus as the source of goodness, his actions mirror those of his earthly father. The infinite love of Jesus, even after sinning again and again, never fails. One can only imagine the patience his adoptive father must have taught him as a child.

St. Joseph Marello wrote, “St. Joseph was always unfazed, even in adversities. Let us be inspired by this sublime example and learn to remain peaceful and calm in all circumstances of life.

We are always faced with challenges. Modeling ourselves on Saint Joseph, we turn to one – if not the most – patient man in the history of the Church.

Let us learn to remain calm, confident and indulgent as Saint Joseph did in his life. He lived in a time very different from ours, but the virtues we can learn from him are timeless.


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