We are almost halfway through the year dedicated to St. Joseph, but have you been living it to the full?
Maybe the concept of Josephite devotion is new to you. If so, you’re not alone. It’s a renewed devotion that is taking the Church by storm. But as young Catholic women — single, married or consecrated — we may struggle with having a relationship with Joseph compared to our devotion to Mary, who is our mother and model.
All women need to lean on St. Joseph. So, to make it easy, here are some “gateway” resources to start your Josephite devotion.
As always, I start with the written word. Even though there is very little recorded about St. Joseph in the Bible — he truly does not have a single quote to his name — there is much written about him from the saints to modern theologians. Here are a couple places to start:
- “Model of Faith: Reflecting on the Litany of Saint Joseph” by Leonard J. DeLorenzo (OSV, $9.99) — You’ve likely heard of the Litany of St. Joseph, where we recite the many titles given to our spiritual father. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you’re anything like me, litanies can lose their punch really fast as they become rote. This new book dives into each title recited in the litany. Every chapter is less than three pages, giving you time to sit with each title and reflect on how you can better relate to St. Joseph. I read this book during April, and I especially loved DeLorenzo’s reflection on Joseph as the Husband of Mary. (*Note: Radiant newsletter subscribers automatically get 25% off all OSV books, and this month only, “Model of Faith” is offered at 50% off! Sign up here to get your discount.)
- “A Man Named Joseph: Guardian for Our Times” by Joe Heschmeyer (OSV, $14.95) — I have not read this book yet, but if you’re curious as to why St. Joseph is called “Patron of the Universal Church” and what that means for us today, this book might be one you will want to add to your reading list.
I’m a sucker for sacred art, and my love for St. Joseph is quickly becoming a prominent theme in my sacred art collection. Here are a few current artists that give both modern and traditional approaches to St. Joseph. My favorite part is that many of these recent depictions portray Joseph as tender and robust instead of feeble and gray-haired. Now this is a strong image of masculinity that I can get behind!:
- I discovered Blair Barlow’s artwork a couple years ago and fell in love with her oil painting “Marriage of the Virgin,” which depicts the marriage of Joseph and Mary. While that particular print is not available in her shop, another version — “The Marriage of Mary and Joseph” — is equally stunning. Also in her shop is an image of the “Flight Into Egypt” and another of Mary and Joseph sitting on the right and left of Christ in heaven (“Matthew 20:23”). There is a serious but gentle tone in each of these portrayals, revealing the relatable humanity mixed with the divine grace the Holy Family experienced.
- Another artist I love is Valerie Delgado from Pax Beloved. Over the past year, she’s added a number of new prints of St. Joseph and the Holy Family. Again, my favorite print of hers is not yet in her shop — I’ve been told it will be available during Advent of 2021 — but I love the tenderness of Joseph embracing Mary, and the sense of security Mary feels in Joseph’s arms. We often forget the deep, abiding love that would have existed between Mary and Joseph because we get caught up on the virginity of Mary, and likely Joseph. But as many authors share, their virginity would only have led to a deeper love. Valerie’s artwork also portrays the fun-loving side of the Holy Family that our culture desperately needs today.
- A third artist I recently discovered is Ruben Ferreira. While there is only one image of St. Joseph in his shop — an image of the adorable Christ child gazing up at his earthly father — others appear to be coming based on his Instagram page. I especially love this image of Joseph and Mary caught in a playful embrace. Once again, the joy of their relationship radiates off the canvas, inspiring me in my own relationships.
As far as I know, there isn’t much spiritual music dedicated to St. Joseph. I have a feeling this may be coming in future years as a greater devotion to our spiritual father spreads. Still, certain platforms have cultivated playlists that fit the heart of St. Joseph.
- I know many people who love Grotto Network’s saint and feast day playlists. While the songs in the St. Joseph playlist are not really about Joseph, it’s easy to reinterpret the lyrics in this new light. Themes of dreaming, fatherhood and being in the presence of God weave throughout the songs. Simply put it on when you’re out on a run, when you are getting ready in the morning or while cooking dinner.
Now that you’re interested in St. Joseph, how do you cultivate a prayerful devotion to this great father of ours?
- As mentioned, praying the Litany of St. Joseph is a great place to start. Add it to your morning prayers to entrust your day to St. Joseph or at the end of the day to ask for good dreams. Other prayers, such as the Memorare to St. Joseph and the Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker, are good ones to add to your daily routine.
- Pray the Rosary to the Holy Spouses. I’ve prayed two novenas this year using this Rosary as the basis of my daily prayers. While some of the mysteries overlap with the traditional Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, five more are added to include St. Joseph, such as the betrothal of Joseph and Mary, the annunciation Joseph received from the angel, the flight to Egypt and the return to Nazareth, and the hidden years the Holy Family lived together. I especially suggest this Rosary if you are a single woman discerning a relationship or vocation, or a married woman and mother who wants to entrust your vocation to your spiritual parents.
- The first Wednesday devotion to St. Joseph is also gaining popularity. While Church tradition teaches that every Wednesday is dedicated in a small way to St. Joseph, the first Wednesday devotion is another way to turn to your spiritual father’s intercession.
- Consider doing a consecration to Jesus through St. Joseph. Two books that can guide you through this consecration are “Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father” (Marian Press, $14.95) by Father Donald Calloway or “Meet Your Spiritual Father: A Brief Introduction to St. Joseph” (Marian Press, $10.95) by Mark Miravalle. Both are written for people who are just getting to know St. Joseph.
- And if you are looking for tiny reminders to pray daily to St. Joseph, the OSV bookstore has you covered. Check out all their swag!
I could probably keep suggesting resources, and I know more will be promoted as the year continues. But no matter where you are in your life, St. Joseph wants to cultivate a relationship with you to bring you closer to the divine Son, Jesus. Will you let him?