Why You Should Make Friends with My Hero, Joseph

Nativity image with Joseph, Mary and Jesus
Photo: Gareth Harper via Unsplash

Why You Should Make Friends with My Hero, Joseph


I’ve heard of a lovely tradition of adopting a patron saint for a year. Have you ever tried this?

If you haven’t, and you are wondering who might be a great inaugural saint for you to adopt as a patron and friend, might I suggest St. Joseph?

St. Joseph has a special place in my family. We invoke his intercession every night after our family prayers and we make a pilgrimage to his oratory in Montreal every year.

This year on our pilgrimage we stayed with a friend of mine, an Anglican minister who serves at a church on Rue St. Catherine. Because he knew of our love for the patriarch of the Holy Family, he asked me to offer a reflection on the saint that he could share with his parish. I happily obliged!

Why do I think you should adopt him as a patron for the year? Here are 3 reasons:

1. Spiritual fatherhood

Joseph was chosen, of all men in history, to act as the human father and guardian of Jesus. What a fatherhood!

And while he was the father to Jesus in a very incarnate way, he can be a spiritual father to each of us.

St. Andre Bessette’s father died when he was 9 years old. His mother Clothilde comforted him, assuring him that in addition to his father in heaven he had another father watching over him in St. Joseph. This relationship would be all the more important when his mother died of tuberculosis 3 years later. 

When I was coming back to the faith of my youth in my mid-20s I was struggling to reconcile myself with my new life, feeling great weight of guilt for my past sins. My confessor recommended that I adopt Mary and Joseph as my spiritual parents, assuring me that they would support me on the path of following Jesus their son. He was right. 

If you ever struggle on the path of discipleship, adopt the parents of our Saviour as your own. You will be loving the ones who Jesus tenderly loved, and they will love you as their own.

"Pray to St. Joseph and he will always be your father and your Guide.” -St. Andre Bessette

2. Qualities worth meditating on and emulating

Joseph challenges me in a number of ways. One: he always had the right and selfless intentions at heart. We see him utilizing his reason and mercy in his first response to Mary’s pregnancy.

But then when he is instructed of the real situation by the angel in a dream, he immediately and without hesitation does what he is told.

How often do I delay doing what is right? How much do I wrestle with mixed motives?

While writing this article my wife called me away to get my 1-year old (named Joseph) out of the tub. Part of me preferred to stay focused on writing. But I think that Joseph would have yielded in his preferences and done what he was called to do.

Reflecting on Joseph helps me remember to do what is right more immediately, choosing higher goods with the grace God.

He also reminds me that actions speak louder than words, and sometimes silence really is golden.

"Joseph is a 'protector' because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions." -Pope Francis

3. Powerful intercession

The Church in her wisdom assigns saints to all different kinds of causes, so we can seek them out in times of need and ask for their prayers to assist us.

Well, St. Joseph has been assigned not just to many causes, but to ALL causes. He is the intercessor par excellence.

Some that are specifically highlighted, he is patron of the sick; families; fathers; the dying; pregnant women; unborn children; workers; travellers; Canada; and the Universal Church (boom!).

Good St. Joseph, pray for us!

For futher reading: check out St. John Paul II's Redemptoris Custos

Reflecting on Joseph helps me remember to do what is right immediately, choosing higher goods with the grace God. — Josh Canning

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