Thursday, March 19, 2009

Feast Day: St. Joseph ... otherwise known as ...

... the saint I forgot but have now found!

It's funny: I'm a cradle-Catholic from a fairly Catholic family; we celebrated feasts and the liturgical calendar; we lit candles at Advent and avoided desserts during Lent. But somehow, we never really did much for St. Joseph. Our grammar school was run by Sisters of St. Joseph, so we did have our school/parish festival on St. Joseph's Day ... but honestly, that's all I can remember!

But this year is different. Worrying about the house not selling in Colorado (yep, it's still available if you want it!), worrying about dh worrying about the house, discerning what we should do .... and on and on ... has been a blessing in many ways: I'm praying much more and have really discovered a strong devotion to St. Joseph, the patron of everything and anything.

Often, when you have trouble selling a house,folks will suggest burying a St. Joseph in the front yard. This is not the St. Joseph to whom I've found a devotion, the St. Joseph of superstition and magic.

The St. Joseph to whom I have a new-found devotion is the one that is described by St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

"There are some saints who have the power of protecting in certain specific circumstances; but St. Joseph has been granted the power to help us in every
kind of need, and to defend all who have recourse to him with pious
St. Teresa of Avila is even more specific: "to other saints our Lord has given power to help in one sort of need, but this glorious saint helps us in EVERY need."

How cool is that ... a saint who is second only to our Blessed Mother in closeness to Jesus and thus, God; a saint who wants to help us and only needs to be petitioned!

We've been praying the St. Joseph Novena to petition the good saint for help with our house in Colorado and discerning God's will. One part of the prayers is particularly apropos for us now: obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the Divine will. Wonderful stuff!

I particularly like this image of St. Joseph ... the father working hard while his son sits and chats and learns. When I see this, I think of my own dh gardening or working on the car and the boys sitting and talking with him, learning from him. And learning more than just a skill ... learning how to be an adult and how to love. Georges de La Tour (1593 - 1652) painted this painting titled, St. Joseph the Carpenter.
Here's the St. Joseph Litany we prayed at the end of Mass:

V/ Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
V/ Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
V/ Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
V/ Jesus, hear us. R/ Jesus, graciously hear us.
V/ God, the Father of Heaven, R/ have mercy on us.
V/ God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, R/ have mercy on us.
V/ God, the Holy Spirit, R/ have mercy on us.
V/ Holy Trinity, One God, R/ have mercy on us.

R/for ff: pray for us.
Holy Mary,
St. Joseph,
Renowned offspring of David,
Light of Patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster father of the Son of God,
Diligent protector of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most strong,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of artisans,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the wretched,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, R/ spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, R/ graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world. R/ have mercy on us.
He made him the lord of his household. R/ And prince over all his possessions.

Let us pray. O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever. R/ Amen.

Can you see why I'm enthralled with this quiet saint about whom little is known? As Fr. Z. said at Mass today, Joseph was silent only when he needed to listen; he talked when it was necessary. A distinction I need to practice more!

So what did we do today to celebrate this wonderful feast in the Liturgical Calendar? Had a great time learning about St. Joseph through reading and discussing the wonderful meditations in this month's Magnificat. After, we each did a different craft ... String Bean did a "virtual St. Joseph altar" by coloring, cutting-out and pasting the pieces to cardstock; Bam-Bam colored a glorious picture of Joseph holding the infant Jesus; Lego-Maniac wood-burned a picture of St. Joseph while I did a shrinky dink plaque (see the beginning of this post).

Then we ran errands, including stopping at the Lego store to purchase more bricks so the kids could be "carpenters" while we watched another couple of episodes of The Adams Chronicles. Dinner was a veritable feast of St. Joseph inspired items:
  • boneless-skinless chicken breasts marinated in italian dressing
  • garlic-butter breadsticks (that looked like Joseph's staff) -- see recipe below
  • salad with Italian dressing
  • shell-pasta with butter and garlic
  • Fritelle di San Guiseppe -- see recipe below

After dinner, we sat and watched the classic The Dog of Flanders, a great movie with a strong parental character, a "not sure he wants to be a father" paternal figure and a few grumpy men who should NEVER be fathers!

St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Family, pray for us!


St. Joseph's Staffs (garlic butter breadsticks)

1 tbs yeast
1 1/3 c. Warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
3 tbs Vegetable oil
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups All-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. honey

Dissolve yeast in warm water in 2 1/2 quart bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the flour, the oil, honey and 1 teaspoon salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour, scraping dough from side of bowl, until soft dough forms. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 45 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Stir down dough by beating about 25 strokes. Turn dough onto generously floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour. Divide into 18 equal parts. Roll and shape each part dough into a rope, about 9 inches long, sprinkling with flour if dough is too sticky. Place on greased cookie sheet. When baking, bake until crust is deep golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Store loosely covered.
Garlic-butter: while sticks are still hot, brush with mixture of 1/4cup melted butter, a minced clove of garlic, and 1 tsp dried parsley.

Frittele di San Guiseppe (from Evelyn Birge Vitz’s A Continual Feast) -- St. Joseph Fritters

2-1/4 cups milk
1 cup rice (I used brown)
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbls flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs fruit brandy (optional – I didn’t use)
Grated rind of 1 large orange
1/2 cup golden raisins (original called for just 3 tbls)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (called for pine nuts, but I used chopped pecans; original called for just 3 tbls)

Oil for frying; powdered sugar for dusting fritters

The night before or very early on St. Joseph’s day: bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add the rice, salt, vanilla and sugar. Cover the pan and simmer gently until rice is cooked and the milk absorbed – about 30-45 minutes. Let the rice cool overnight or for several hours.

Mix the cooled rice with the eggs, flour, baking powder, orange rind, raisins and nuts.

Heat oil to 375 for deep-fat frying. Drop the frittellle mixture 1 tbls at a time into the oil. Cook a few at a time, keeping the frittelle separate. Fry till golden.

Drain on a paper towel. Serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Both of these recipes are definite keepers -- good thing St. Joseph has another feast in the calendar -- St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st!


Leonie said...

Oh, yummy recipes again. I also really liked what St Bernard of Clairvaux had to say about St Joseph - hadn't read that before, but have always liked his writings on Our Lady. Continued prayers for your intentions!

Debbie said...

Loved this post!