St. Joseph, St. Theresa, and Your Friendly Neighborhood Brothers

Here’s a little secret I reveal to readers while the Brothers are on our Roman pilgrimage. Exactly a year ago today — on the feast of St. Theresa of Avila — the MICM Brothers in Richmond, N.H. instituted a new observance in our horarium. St. Theresa, as readers may know, was very devoted to St. Joseph. In fact, much of the modern devotion to the great Patriarch of Nazareth is due to her prayerful, cloistered work. So we chose this day to institute something we had been contemplating for a while. After singing Compline, the traditional night office of the Church, we now make a special invocation to St. Joseph. We chant his litany in Latin as we proceed from our chapel, candles in hand, to a statue of Our Lord’s foster father we have installed near our cloister entrance. This takes us up a flight of stairs. We’re almost finished with the litany when we reach the statue, where we add some other prayers and several petitions to Saint Joseph for the needs of our house and our community. The recent news we posted — Very Good News: a New Priest for SBC — was one of the several intentions we have been regularly praying for. In our Roman pilgrimage especially, this prayer of petition has turned into a prayer of thanksgiving. And this petition is not the only one that’s been answered. Our Lady’s Man is very powerful, and we’ve marveled at his promptness! Please take this as a recommendation to cultivate a devotion to him.

What brings us here to Rome is, of course, Sunday’s canonization of — OK, I’ll say it — SAINT Andre Bessette. I am grateful to have the rare privilege of being present at the canonization of my patron saint. And what ties this in to this column’s title is the fact that Saint Andre was, like Saint Theresa of Avila, a great devotee of Saint Joseph. He called himself “Saint Joseph’s little dog.”

The pilgrimage has, so far, gone wonderfully. We’ve assisted at the traditional Roman rite daily in St. Peter’s Basilica, just as we did last year. Besides that, just today we reverenced the tomb of Pope Boniface VIII, Cardinal Merry del Val, St. Pius X, St. Gregory the Great, St. Leo the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and many others. Those who are in the know will recognize that all I’ve just named are in St. Peter’s, either upstairs in the Basilica, or down in the crypt of the popes. We also climbed many flights of stairs to the very top of the cupola of the Basilica, where there’s an incredible view of the Eternal City. That’s just scratching the surface of what we’ve been able to do so far, thank God.

To all our tertiaries, friends, and benefactors: please know that you are in our prayers during this pilgrimage. And remember, as St. Theresa of Avila and Frere Andre would say: Ite Ad Joseph!