Greetings on the feast of Saint Joseph.
May this feast day provide each one with the opportunity to live in the humble spirit of Joseph as people called to make a difference in our world.
Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods chose Saint Joseph to be the Patron of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart. Mary MacKillop often wrote to the sisters about the humility of Joseph – a man grounded in the reality of the everyday, always aware that it was God’s work and not his own that mattered.
On this particular feast of Joseph, we are mindful that this is a difficult time for many living with the reality of the impact of sexual abuse in our church and the wider community. Currently many in our church community are struggling to find meaning in the events of these past weeks and in the whole reality of facing the sexual abuse crisis in our church and in our world.
In 1907 on the feast of Saint Joseph, Mary MacKillop wrote some encouraging words to the sisters when facing dark and uncertain times. She writes:
She saw this reflected in the life of Saint Joseph who struggled to understand what God was asking of him as he stepped beyond his faith tradition to welcome the pregnant Mary as his wife. She saw it again when he had to leave the familiar and move as a refugee into the land of Egypt. No doubt in these painful moments, Joseph struggled about what to do and how to respond. For us as church this is a time of being led into some dark places, a time when we are called to sit in the darkness like Joseph and Mary MacKillop and to know the pain of what it means to stand at the cross of suffering. This feast invites each one of us, like Joseph to find trust in God’s promise that life comes through death and difficult realities.
God chose Joseph in his simplicity and humility to participate in God’s mission as the humble worker from Nazareth to safeguard the gift of the Child Jesus entrusted to him. May Saint Joseph strengthen us in our mission today to protect and safeguard the children and vulnerable persons of our communities who are entrusted to our care.
Joseph teach us to be gentle with our power and strong in our tenderness in this Holy Saturday time.
And in the words of Mary MacKillop, may this feast of Saint Joseph be a happy and holy one and may it bring each one many graces.
Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj
Image: photo of Saint Joseph and Jesus sculpture taken at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Adelaide, South Australia.