Lives of the Saints: St Joseph

I ran across this item on Amazon.com the other day.

St Joseph Home Seller Kit

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Non Catholics or even Non Cradle Catholics would find this bizarre, I’m sure. But for me, growing up in the heavy German Catholic territory of Cincinnati, Ohio in the 70’s this idea was well-known. I’m not sure exactly how it originated but the plan to bury statues of St Joseph in one’s yard to help sell the house according to what I’ve read came into popularity in the late 70’s and that rage continued well into the 90’s.

We employed St Joseph when I was in the 5th grade and needed to sell our small house on Loretta avenue so that we could buy my grandparents’ house down the road. It was most likely my grandmother’s suggestion to bury St Joseph. She always seemed to know the Catholic prescription for whatever was ailing. Feeling desperate? Say a novena to St Jude, the patron saint of hopeless cases. Need to sell your house? Bury St Joseph in your yard. I’ve even read some places that he was meant to be buried head down and in a certain corner of the front yard, or maybe it was the back yard.

Wow, poor St Joseph.

It got me to thinking though, about the things I do to try to exhibit some control over things that are so clearly out of my control. I pray in some desperate words after I drop my kids at the bus stop or the school yard. I pray consistently day after day as often as I think of it for their safety, their health, their relationships. They’re growing up. I’m afraid to let go. I admit it.

So during my desperate kid related prayers this week I made a real effort to remember that this particular praying really is for me more than it is for them. Certainly I do want the best for them, I do want them to be healthy and wise. I don’t know that it’s my prayer that necessarily gets them there when I’m absent. Though I like to imagine it creates a kind of bubble wrap around my children I doubt that’s terribly theologically sound all in all. So, the desperate words whispered while I sit in traffic, headed for home, those are for me, for the letting go, for the trusting in the work I’ve done so far in parenting, for the hope that if things go poorly they’ll at least want to talk about it, work it out, wrestle with it. The prayer over all is for my patience level, for my attention span, for my reaction when they tell me about their day.

I don’t have a statue to bury for this. I won’t lie, some bubble wrap would be nice

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