St. Joseph
Protector of the Carmelite Order and
Patron of our Carmelite Monastery at Kilmacud
Feast Day: 19 March

St. Joseph on our stairway
St.Joseph, Husband of Mary

Feasts of St. Joseph

St. Joseph and the Popes

Devotion to St. Joseph according to
St. Teresa

Prayers to St. Joseph

Further Reading

St. Joseph, Father to Christ and Husband of Mary

St. Joseph, the father of Jesus during his childhood and youth in Nazareth and the husband of Mary is introduced to us briefly in the infancy narratives of the Gospels according to St Matthew and St. Luke. From these sources come all we know about him, but over the centuries Joseph has become one of the most popular saints because of his most important role in salvation history.

We know that Joseph was a carpenter by trade and that he was of the tribe of Judah and the House of David. Scripture describes him as a "just man", but no spoken words of his are recorded. The chaste Joseph, son of Jacob, of the Old Testament was a prototype of St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord. Pharaoh raised this Joseph from his humble position in life to the highest dignity in the land of Egypt and directed all his subjects to apply to Joseph in their needs, saying - "Go to Joseph!" (Gen 41:55).
In the same words, the Church directs the faithful to have recourse to St. Joseph in all their spiritual and temporal needs.

In 1847 Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed St. Joseph "Patron and Protector of the Universal Church". Although St. Joseph is our father and our advocate in all necessities, he is especially considered the patron of a happy death, a provider of financial help - particularly to the poor and to religious communities - the patron of families, of labourers, of the sick, of the poor, of the rich (to help them distribute their riches charitably), of the suffering, of travellers, of exiles, of the afflicted, of the married, of virgins, of the unborn, of youths, of priests and of those aspiring to the priesthood, of those advanced in virtue and those devoted to prayer.

St. Joseph has a long association with the Carmelite Order and holds a special place in the hearts and devotion of all Carmelites. St. Teresa had particular love for him (see below).
We here at Kilmacud hold him in special honour because our monastery - like many Discalced Carmelite houses - is dedicated to him. We are praying to him especially for new vocations, and we invite you, our visitors, to do so too. We know that he is watching over our little community and helping us to come closer to Jesus and Mary. All the pictures of Joseph on this page are taken from inside our monastery.

St Joseph in our refectory
Feasts of St Joseph

The primary feast of St. Joseph is March 19. This feast was fixed in the 15th century and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Gregory XV in 1621. The Church also dedicates the entire month of March to St. Joseph. In addition, pious custom dedicates Wednesday of each week to the honour of St. Joseph.
May 1st was established as the feast of St. Joseph the Workman by Pope Pius XII in 1955. The date was chosen to coincide with the date on which Labour Day is observed in many countries, thus to elevate and sanctify the observance.

St. Joseph and the Popes

Pope Leo XIII - Encyclical Quamquam pluries, Aug 15 1889
Since the bond of marriage existed between Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, there can be no doubt that more than any other person he approached that supereminient dignity by which the Mother of God is raised far above all created natures.
Blessed Joseph... was indeed the husband of Mary and the father, as was supposed, of Jesus Christ. From this arise all his dignity, grace, holiness and glory... [The Church] is his numberless family, scattered throughout all lands, over which he rules with a sort of paternal authority, because he is the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus Christ.
Just as Mary, Mother of the Saviour, is spiritual mother of all Christians... Joseph looks on all Christians as having been confided to himself... He is the defender of the Holy Church, which is truly the House of God and the Kingdom of God on earth.

Pope Paul VI - Extract from an Address on 5 January 1964

 May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character. Let us learn from Nazareth that the formation received at home is gentle and irreplaceable. Let us learn the prime importance of the role of the family in the social order.
Finally, there is a lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the "Carpenter's Son", in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work; here I would restore the awareness of the nobility of work; and reaffirm that work cannot be an end in itself, but that its freedom and its excellence derive, over and above its economic worth, from the value of those for whose sake it is undertaken. And here at Nazareth, to conclude, I want to greet all the workers of the world, holding up to them their great pattern, their brother who is God. He is the prophet of all their just causes, Christ our Lord.
St Joseph in our chapel
Pope John Paul II

Apostolic Exhortation:
Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer)

To read the full document, click here

Pope Benedict XVI  
Extract from
Homily on 18 March 2009:

To be a father means above all to be at the service of life and growth. St. Joseph, in this sense, gave proof of great devotion. For the sake of Christ he experienced persecution, exile and the poverty which this entails. He had to settle far from his native town. His only reward was to be with Christ.

Joseph teaches us that it is possible to love without possessing. In contemplating Joseph, all men and women can, by God's grace, come to experience healing from their emotional wounds, if only they embrace the plan that God has begun to bring about in those close to him, just as Joseph entered into the work of redemption through Mary and as a result of what God had already done in her. The life of Saint Joseph, lived in obedience to God’s word, is an eloquent sign for all the disciples of Jesus who seek the unity of the Church. His example helps us to understand that it is only by complete submission to the will of God that we become effective workers in the service of his plan to gather together all mankind into one family, one assembly, one 'ecclesia.'

Devotion to St. Joseph according to St. Teresa

Saint Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) had great devotion to St. Joseph, and she named her first new monastery
of Discalced Carmelite Nuns, and indeed many more of the monasteries that she founded, after this great saint. Whenever she made a new foundation, she took with her a statue of St. Joseph. She attributes to him the cure of her paralysis during her early years as a Carmelite nun as she relates in her Life:

"I took for my patron and lord the glorious St. Joseph, and recommended myself earnestly to him. I saw clearly that both out of this my present trouble, and out of others of greater importance, relating to my honour and the loss of my soul, this my father and lord delivered me, and rendered me greater services than I knew how to ask for. I cannot call to mind that I have ever asked him at any time for anything which he has not granted; and I am filled with amazement when I consider the great favours which God has given me through this blessed Saint; the dangers from which he has delivered me, both of body and of soul." Life VI, 9

St. Joseph - intercessor for all our needs, according to St. Teresa:
St Joseph in our novitiate
"To other Saints Our Lord seems to have given power to succour us in some special necessity - but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth - for St. Joseph, bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him - so now in Heaven Our Lord grants all his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they too, know the same thing by experience...
It is now many years since I began asking him for something on his feast, and I have always received it. If the petition was in any way amiss, he rectified it for my greater good... I ask for the love of God that he who does not believe me will make the trial for himself - then he will find out by experience the great good that results from commending oneself to this glorious Patriarch and in being devoted to him..."               
Life VI, 9, 11, 12

St. Teresa on St. Joseph and those devoted to prayer:

"Those persons who give themselves to prayer should in a special manner always have great devotion to St. Joseph, for I know not how anyone can think of the Queen of Angels during the time that she suffered so much with the Infant Jesus without giving thanks to St. Joseph for 
the assistance he rendered to them then. He who cannot find anyone to teach him how to pray, let him take this glorious Saint for his guide, and he will not lose his way".        Life VI, 12

Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph
Short Prayer for the Dying  
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong, before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls
pray for me.


O St Joseph, foster father of the Child Jesus
and true spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
pray for us and for the dying of this day
(or this night).
Commemorative Prayer
(said each day in our Carmel)
Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She will give birth to a son and you must call His name Jesus.
Pray for us, Holy Father, St. Joseph - that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Almighty God, at the beginnings of our salvation when Mary conceived your Son and brought him forth into the world,
you placed them under Joseph's watchful care.
May his prayer still help your Church to be an equally faithful guardian of your mysteries,
and a sign of Christ to humankind.

Further Reading


Catholic Encyclopedia:

Catholic Online:


Made with NVU© 2010 Carmelite Sisters, Kilmacud

Copyright Policy                               Site Map                                          Links