about Joseph  
Recognition: 15th century

Until the 15th century, however, Joseph received little recognition, remaining as the Gospels often present him, in the background.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, theologians, preachers, spiritual writers and saints of the western church turned their attention to Joseph. Lives of the saint, written then, present him as a devoted young husband and father, an example for workers, a patron for the dying, and a protector for the church during the crisis of the Reformation.

St Teresa of AvilaSt.Theresa of Avila (+1582, pictured at left) and other important spiritual figures of those times praised the saint's interior life. Joseph, who listened to God's voice within his heart, was an example to Christians who,confused by their own times, turned for guidance to prayer and an interior life. Theresa ascribed her cure from sickness when she was 26 years old to his intercession. Her popular writings were an important stimulus to Catholic devotion to Joseph.

"I can never remember asking him for anything and not being answered," Theresa wrote.

Catholics setting out for the New World of the Americas placed new towns and churches under the patronage of Joseph who watched over Jesus and Mary in the faraway land of Egypt.

Numerous places and churches in South America and parts of North America settled by the French bear the saint's name.

St Joseph, patron of four countries

He is the patron of Mexico, Canada, Belgium and China. Numerous religious communities, like the Sisters of St.Joseph, founded in LePuy, France about 1648, called upon the saint's trust in God's providence to guide their ministry in a changing world.

The feast of St. Joseph on March 19 was introduced into the Church's liturgy in 1479.

Pope Pius IX, at the close of the First Vatican Council, proclaimed Joseph the patron of the universal church.

Pope Pius XII established the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1) in 1955 to emphasize the dignity of the Christian worker.

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