Hail Joseph, guardian of all those who have embraced holy virginity ...
St. Joseph as the Model of Religious
It is our great pleasure and privilege to honor our beloved spiritual father, St. Joseph, in this, his month (and his year!). He, with Our Blessed Mother and St. Louis Marie de Montfort, is a principal patron of our community. But surely, it is only right and just that he has a certain pride of place in patronage for any religious house; he is, after all, the “protector of virgins”—as he is acclaimed in his litany.
His first virginal charges were Our Lady and Our Lord themselves. As the head of the Holy Family, he was the protector of a household in which every member was wholly consecrated to God in a complete gift of love, and what is religious life if not the complete gift of a person’s Whole Self, body and soul, into the safekeeping of the Divine Lover?
“In many ways, the home of the Holy Family in Nazareth was the first Christian Monastery.” (“Consecration to St. Joseph”, p. 171, Wonder 7: Adorer of Christ, Fr. Calloway, Donald H.)
“Saint Joseph is the Protector by right of Religious Communities, since he was appointed Superior of the little and holy Community of Nazareth.” (“Guardian of God’s Lilies”, p. 20, Marist Brothers of the Schools).
And, of course, he is oft-invoked in devotion as he is addressed in his litany: Ioseph castissime (“Joseph Most Chaste”). Before the calling of the rich young man in the Gospels, we find our spiritual father living the evangelical counsels to perfection. St. Joseph was obedient to the Father in taking Our Lady into his home, in naming the Child Jesus, in taking the Holy Family into Egypt. He was, to the end, obedient in living a poor, chaste life in the company of Jesus and Mary in Nazareth. To labor daily so that Christ may grow and go forth to bring salvation to the world. To adore Him first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. To labor with thankfulness and joy, offering every hardship for the love of Jesus and Mary and the salvation of souls; and to, having lived faithfully, die in their blessed company. This was the life St. Joseph lived, and this is the vocation of all consecrated persons.