As Fr Julian Tennyson Woods called it, Tasmania is the “Isle of St Joseph”. An extra reason for us, who have St Joseph as secondary patron of the Priory of which his Immaculate Spouse is the principal patroness, to invoke this extraordinary man on his feast day. From my 32 years at St Joseph Abbey in Flavigny, and especially through its founder, Dom Augustin Marie Joly (+2006), I received a very special devotion to this saint who was chosen by God to be both the guardian of Mary and the protector and provider for His own Eternal Son Incarnate. St Joseph is one of those saints whose grandeur should make you feel dizzy; a giant of sanctity whom one approaches with awe; the only man on earth Mary Immaculate could trust with her virginity to the point of becoming his wife, and knowing the he shared in her esteem for chastity, having made a vow himself; the only man on earth the Son of God looked up to and called “Papa”.

But at the same time, St Joseph is one of the saints in whose company you do not feel out of place, like you do when you get invited to a banquet with all sorts of celebrities. No, St Joseph is so humble, so gentle, so paternal, that when you enter his presence, you feel loved, respected, cared for. You just know that whatever you might have on your mind and heart, whatever it is you wish to ask for, he will receive the petition with open ears and open heart. Over the years, I have asked many things of St Joseph. Here at Notre Dame Priory we recite daily the following prayer composed by St Francis de Sales:

Glorious St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary, grant us, we beseech thee, thy paternal protection, through the Heart of Jesus Christ. O Thou whose infinite power reaches out to all our needs, rendering possible for us that which is impossible, look upon the concerns of thy children with thy fatherly countenance. In the troubles and sorrows that afflict us, we have confident recourse to thee. Deign to take under thy loving protection this important and difficult endeavor, the cause of our worries, and dispose its success to the glory of God and to the benefit of His faithful servants. Amen.

I have also been in the custom each year of asking St Joseph for some very special favours on his feast day, ever since I read about St Teresa of Avila affirming that whenever she asked him for anything on his feast day, he always came through. With her, I can say that St Joseph listens to prayers, and he grants them. So let us go with confidence to him on this great day, entrusting to him the great intentions of the world and the Church, but also all our particular intentions. 

I would ask that you keep in your prayers to him this very important and difficult task of finding the place to establish our monastery. At the same time, I assure you that the monks in formation here will be praying for you and your intentions through the intercession of our great and beloved St Joseph.

Happy Feast of St Joseph to All! Go to Joseph!