Pope Francis has declared 2021 (12/8/20 – 12/8/21) the Year of St. Joseph. Today is his feast day and are our attention turns to this just man who, with Mary, raised and helped form Jesus.
St. Francis de Sales had a great devotion to St. Joseph and is credited greatly with advancing the devotion to the husband of Mary. This excerpt is from a famous sermon which our University patron preached to the Visitation of Holy Mary Monastery in Annecy on March 19, 1622. It is reputed to be “one of the most famous sermons on St. Joseph ever preached” (Chorpenning, 1999, p. 41). Throughout this sermon, Francis hails virtues in Joseph that are our University’s core values, including gentleness, humility, and wisdom.
Saint Joseph, then, is in heaven in body and soul, there is no doubt. Oh, how happy shall we be, if we can merit a share in his holy intercession, for nothing will be refused him, either by our lady, or by her glorious Son. He will obtain for us, if we have confidence in him, a holy growth in all kinds of virtues, but especially in those that we have found that he possessed in a higher degree than any others, which are most holy purity of body and mind, the most lovable virtue of humility, constancy, courage, and perseverance: virtues which will make us victorious in this life over our enemies, and was will make us merit the grace to go and enjoy and eternal life the rewards prepared for those who shall imitate the example given by Saint Joseph while he was in this life, a reward that will be nothing less than eternal happiness, in which we shall enjoy the luminous vision of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. God be blessed! (Chorpenning, 1999, p. 126).
Joseph F. Chorpenning. (1999). Sermon Texts on St. Joseph by Francis de Sales, Toronto: Peregrina.