Feast of St. Joseph

Today is the Feast of St. Joseph, my personal favorite saint.  Besides the fact that he’s sold a couple of houses for me–making him a Saint for our times, it is only fitting that your verbose Prattler have a patron who knew how to keep his mouth shut.


[You can buy this beautiful sculpture here (sure wish I could!)]

The sculpture above depicts St. Joseph the Worker (Feast Day = May 1), as does this the following:


Saint Joseph
Detail from the right wing of Triptych of the Annunication – Robert Campin, Netherlands (Bruges), ca 1378-1444 (Oil on Panel)
The Cloisters Collection, 1956 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I like a Saint who is not afraid to get his hands dirty, who rolls up his sleeves and tries to build something, who doesn’t shy away from a little hard work.  There is all kinds of work, though–both manual and intellectual labor.  Those of us who are philosophers and teachers should remember those whose work, unlike ours, causes calluses, bad backs, black lung, and that generally takes its toll on the body, even as we dedicate ourselves to our own vital labors, holding their own, rather different, occupational hazards.  [May I recommend checking out Workplace:  A Journal for Academic Labor, in which you will find–perhaps–some food for thought.]

But St. Joseph was first a dad, the “foster father” of Jesus, a parent who knew how to get out of the way of his kid, even while loving and protecting him  (something not so easy that all of us parents would do well to learn).  Today would be as good a day as any to call to mind our own dad, who maybe was quiet as St. Joe, who maybe didn’t always say everything he meant to say, who maybe didn’t always get out of our way, but who nevertheless gives it his best shot day in and day out.  Why wait until June?  [Thanks, Dad!  And thank you, too, Art!]


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