Tag Archives: St Joseph

Talking about Joseph

Today I had the opportunity to talk about St. Joseph with some Year 4 students at a Catholic School in Bradford, England. One of our CSJP sisters lives in the parish and is a regular visitor to the school. Sister Catherine arranged for me to visit and talk about St Joseph.

As it happens, the students (many of whom in this multicultural Yorkshire town are Muslim) happened to already know a lot about Joseph! St. Joseph is the patron saint of their class in fact.

When I asked what they could tell me about him, they answered one after the other, raising their hands. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus. He helped Mary take care of Jesus. He was the step father of God. He was a good man. They knew that he worked as a carpenter. He is a Saint. He was there with Mary when Jesus was born. He took his family to find safety .

I told them that the founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace chose Joseph as the patron of my religious community because he is a model of peace. When I asked why we needed peace today, again their hands quickly went in the air. Peace for Ukraine. Peace for people who are arguing. Peace for everyone.

I really enjoyed the chance to visit with these 8 and 9 year olds. They seemed amazed that I had actually written a book and asked me lots of questions about how long it took, how I researched it, and how I put it together.

The nun thing was of course also one of the questions. How did I become a Sister? And finally, the best question, if I am a Sister of St Joseph, am I actually related to him? We are all children of God, I said, so we’re all related. I am related to Joseph and so are you!

Joseph and Jesus
(statue spotted at our CSJP house in Scotland)

Living Joseph every day

The Year of St Joseph ends today.

It was unexpected when Pope Francis declared a year dedicated to Joseph last year. I had already spent significant time with my friend Joe, having just finished the manuscript of my book (My Friend Joe: Reflections on St. Joseph – available as a paperback or ebook) the month before.

Joseph is always there for us, with us. He doesn’t need a special year or day. He can be our friend every day.

He can also be a model for us as we navigate this thing called life.

In my religious Congregation we consider him to be a model of peace in times of struggle and uncertainty.

Check. That would be many times, but certainly now.

He can inspire us to dream. To take risks for those we love. To act justly. To serve God. To work creatively. To love always.

Today and everyday.

Waiting … a radical attitude

Advent is a season of waiting. We wait with Joseph and Mary for the coming of the Christ child. We wait for the inbreaking of God into the human family. We wait, radically, in a culture that prioritizes control and instant gratification.

In the words of Henri Nouwen:

“To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”

(Excerpt from “Waiting for God” in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, Plough Publishing, 2001)

Introducing … My Friend Joe

Just in time for the end of the Year of St. Joseph, I am excited to share the news that my little book of reflections on St. Joseph has been published by Kenmare Press: My Friend Joe: Reflections on St. Joseph. It is available for purchase as a paperback ($8) or ebook ($1) from the Kenmare Press Online Bookstore.

Description:

St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus, is central to the Christian story. Yet, so little is known about St. Joseph, either as an historical figure or as recorded in scripture.  Much of what we understand about Joseph comes to us from tradition, art, and the lived experience of the faithful over the centuries.   Sister of St. Joseph of Peace Susan Rose Francois reflects on her growing spiritual friendship with St. Joseph, who she affectionately calls her friend Joe. Inspired by photographs of Joseph taken by the author, she reflects on her personal encounters with Joseph in conversation with church tradition around this saint.  Through art, prose, history, and prayer she encourages the reader to discover, or deepen, their own spiritual friendship with St. Joseph.

Read more about the book and view the pictures that inspired it here.

Prayer and Friendship with St. Joseph – Online Retreat

Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, during the Year of St. Joseph!

As a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace, this is a feast day for our community. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with St. Joseph lately. In fact, I’ve recently finished a short book entitled My Friend Joe: Reflections on St. Joseph which will be published this summer by Kenmare Press.

On Wednesday, yes St. Patrick’s Day, I led a Peace Day retreat on Prayer and Friendship with St. Joseph for our sponsored ministry, the Peace and Spirituality Center.

I am now happy to share this presentation as an online retreat video that can be used by individuals or groups during this Year of St. Joseph. I have also created a prayer resource which you can download below for free.

My hope is that this resource might help others grow closer to St. Joseph, who I affectionatly call “My Friend Joe. May you go to Joseph and go in peace.