The Faith of St. Joseph

Guest Post: Gabriela Robles, Chief Executive

“St. Joseph did not do extraordinary things, but rather by the constant practice of ordinary and common virtues, he attained that sanctity which elevates him above all the other saints.” – St. Giuseppe “Joseph” Marello, Bishop of Acqui (1889-1895) and founder of the Oblates of St. Joseph

March 19th is St. Joseph’s Feast Day, a significant day for me as a Catholic, a parent, and someone who works to build equitable communities. When I think about the legacy of St. Joseph, I think about his extreme faith. Called upon to be the earthly father of Jesus, Mary’s unborn child, Joseph humbly and graciously took on the responsibility. In doing so, he also agreed to protect Mary’s reputation and Jesus’ inevitable fate as the son of God.

As the Bible stories show us, Joseph stepped into the challenges before him and was solidly committed to the livelihood of others. His love for Mary and Jesus was unconditional. He raised Jesus as his only son and passed down his carpentry skills. Wood, believed to represent inner strength, is significant in Joseph’s life and the history of SJF. The wooden cross has long served as a symbol of faith. Many orders of sisters, including the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, use the cross in their identity.

Incorporating the symbolism of wood, we paid homage to Joseph and the sisters when we recently updated the SJF logo. Joseph gave love unconditionally. That’s how the sisters established their work in the care of the dear neighbor without distinction and how we carry that forward. Our work is rooted in love, and we meet our communities where they are, just as Joseph did when he was called to help Mary. He had such conviction to serve, and I see our partners lead their efforts with similar assurance, belief, and hope.

Joseph isn’t just important in my work. He has also been someone that we’ve looked to for guidance in our family. Throughout our journey to become parents, my husband and I continue to pray to him and Mary to guide us. We feel blessed to have felt his hand in our lives.

On St. Joseph’s Day, we will thank him for his consistent presence in our family and work. In a time when it can feel like it’s easy to lose faith in ourselves and each other, I hope today, at least, that we can remember the strength of Joseph, step into our confidence, and offer unconditional love to others.


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