By Sister Gianna, OCD
On March 1st, 1934, Mother Luisita wrote to one of her Sisters:
“Today “The Month of Our Hopes” begins because it’s the month of our father St. Joseph. Let us try to spend this month with all possible fervor, and trust that he’ll obtain for us innumerable and great graces, above all for our souls. Pray to him for me very often.”
St. Joseph? Month of our hopes? I’ve not often heard hope and St. Joseph connected in such a way. He is typically celebrated as the patron saint of fathers, of workers, and of a holy death. Why would Mother Luisita suggest him as a kind of patron saint of hope?
As is fitting for Carmelites, Mother Luisita took up a fervent devotion to the foster father of Jesus in the spirit of St. Teresa of Avila, the great sixteenth century reformer of the Carmelite Order. After all, St. Teresa wrote that she had chosen St. Joseph for her advocate and had discovered that he obtained greater blessings that she could ever ask of him. She went as far as to say that nothing she ever asked of him was denied her. “I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint.” St. Teresa challenged anyone that did not believe her to put what she said about St. Joseph to the test.
For the last couple years, our community has prayed the “Memorare of St. Joseph” to end the drought in the state of California, and for an abundance of rain through his powerful intercession. We have discontinued that daily prayer as of late, and with humble hearts overflowing with thanksgiving, we are now asking that once southern California is no longer in extreme drought (as of this writing, we still have a ways to go) St. Joseph to turn the spigot down a bit!
As we approach March first – the beginning of Lent, the month of St. Joseph, and the month of our hopes—let’s beg St. Joseph to obtain the graces we most need, for he gives “very real help” to souls who commend themselves to him (St. Teresa of Avila). Let’s join the ranks of Mother Luisita and St. Teresa as his devoted clients.
Memorare of Saint Joseph
Remember, O most illustrious Patriarch Saint Joseph,
On the testimony of Saint Teresa, thy devoted client,
Never has it been heard that anyone invoked thy protection
Or sought thy mediation was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence I come before thee,
My loving protector, chaste Spouse of Mary,
Foster-father of the Savior of men
And dispenser of the treasures of His Sacred Heart.
Despise not my earnest prayer
But graciously hear and obtain my petition.