Happy St Joseph the Worker Feast Day!

From time to time, someone will ask me who who St. Joseph of Peace was (the patron of my religious community). I usually explain  that the "of Peace" was more of an attribute than a place, and that the title refers to the St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. The carpenter man.

Our founder Margaret Anna Cusack chose Joseph as our patron because she believed he was a model of peace:

"No doubt we may point to St. Joseph as the great model of every virtue, but it would seem as if peace was his crowning grace. In peace he fulfills all the Divine commands, many of which required from him the exercise of the greatest self-sacrifice; and in peace he submitted to the cruel injustice of Herod."

Or, as our CSJP Constitutions say:  "“His courage to live a life of faith inspires us to trust in God's abiding love,especially in times of struggle and uncertainty.”

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. And yes, this Joseph is the same one as well. But as tradition tells us that he was a carpenter, hence the title worker.

Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st in 1955. This was in the midst of the cold war, and was no doubt in response to the observance of May 1st in most of the world, and especially cold war era communist countries, as May Day, International Worker's Day.

While this Feast Day is a relative late comer to the liturgical calendar, it is nonetheless an important one in the Catholic Tradition. Catholic Social Teaching has a strong respect for the dignity of work and rights of workers.

Yet the workers' rights cannot be doomed to be the mere result of economic systems aimed at maximum profits. The thing that must shape the whole economy is respect for the workers' rights within each country and all through the world's economy. ...

Created in God's image, we were given the mandate to transform the earth. By their work people share in God's creating activity....Awareness that our work is a sharing in God's work ought to permeate even the most ordinary daily activities.

By our labor we are unfolding the Creator's work and contributing to the realization of God's plan on earth. (On Human Work, John Paul II)

To each of us who shares in God's creating activity through work .... Happy Feast Day!

To all of those who are living through times of struggle and uncertainty, let's pray for the intercession of Joseph.  May we too be inspired by his courage to love.

No comments: