Saint Joseph’s Help
By Very Rev. J. A. Keller, D.D.
Stories of the Power and Efficacy of Saint Joseph’s Intercession
In affliction, tribulation, danger, temptation, family troubles – indeed, in every want both spiritual and temporal – Saint Joseph has always and everywhere been a protector.
Saved from Death by Fire
Now listen how wonderfully a child in the Tyrol escaped being burned to death. It happened thus:
Fire had broken out in a certain house, and almost before the inhabitants could be roused, the whole building was enveloped in flames.
In the terror and confusion which ensued, it happened that a woman was separated from her child, and dragged out almost before she knew where she was. When she recognized that she was safe, and her little one left behind in peril, the anguish of the poor mother was terrible to behold. She threw herself on her knees, and entreated the bystanders to save her child. But although all shared her sorrow, it was impossible to enter amidst the raging flames.
Then the unhappy woman, seeing that all human aid failed her, besought heavenly succor. Raising her eyes and hands to heaven, she invoked Saint Joseph, saying:
“Hail, Joseph, to thee I recommend my Joseph, my only child!”
And miraculously the fire seemed to divide on either side of the little room where lay the cradle of the sleeping infant, and the mother’s heart rejoiced once again, by clasping in her arms the treasure she feared that she had lost. Thanks to Saint Joseph.
Saint Joseph Protects a Religious Community
In the year 1871 the population of Angouleme was in great anxiety, fearing an outbreak of the revolutionary party which had already committed such outrages in Marseilles and Lyons.
The religious communities, terrified at the approach of the storm, which was sure to fall most fiercely on them, implored the succor and protection of Almighty God and His Saints.
Among these communities was one whose Superioress had a great devotion to Saint Joseph, and after offering to him many fervent prayers for the safety of her children, she felt inspired to fasten to the outer door of the convent a picture of Saint Joseph, which clearly expressed the intention that he should take upon himself the office of guardian of the community.
“Fear nothing, my children; we have Saint Joseph as our sentinel at the door; under such protection all is secure.”
By and by evening came on, and the most threatening rumors spread through the town. Suspicious-looking people were seen in the streets, the crowd continued to increase, and finally, about two hours after sunset, a savage mob, shouting, blaspheming, and vociferating dreadful threats against the religious, set out in the direction of this convent, which it was feared they would at once attack. And these forebodings proved only too true, for the miserable, misguided wretches soon began their malicious work. With heavy stones, clubs, or any other implements they could lay hands upon, they endeavored to force the door. The Sisters had already gone to rest with the exception of the Superioress and her Mother-Assistant, and they kept watch in prayer before an image of Saint Joseph. But at the first sound of this terrific uproar, one and all started out of bed, and rushed downstairs. They were met by their Superioress, Mother N —, who calmly desired them to retire to rest again, assuring them that the honor of their heavenly Protector being at stake, he would be sure to save them.
Supernatural obedience prevailed over human fear, and the poor nuns retired again to their cells, although to sleep even “with one eye” (as they say in Germany), was out of the question, for it seemed as if all the demons of Hell were yelling and raging around their convent.
Meanwhile, Mother N— went down to the hall or vestibule to ascertain how the work of destruction was going on; and to her alarm she already could see great cracks and fissures in the door. Hastily returning to the Oratory, she and the Mother-Assistant again most fervently commended the Community to the care of their blessed Guardian.
Then once more descending the staircase she found this time that the fastenings of the door were almost destroyed. A few more blows, and their savage enemies would have gained entrance, to wreak their inhuman vengeance on these helpless victims.
With more earnestness than ever, yet with increased confidence and peace of mind, did this heroic religious again recommend herself to Saint Joseph; when suddenly, in a moment, all was silent!
What does it mean? Her heart answers her that her prayers have been heard. She rose from her knees, and for the third time went downstairs, hardly able to believe her own ears, and thinking that she must be laboring under a delusion. But no! nothing was to be heard. She looked at the door, and to her surprise saw that half of it was in ruins, and yet no one had entered! She dared even to go farther, and looked through the large opening to the street; but where lately there had been an immense crowd, now not a single human being was to be seen, only the reflection of the street gas-lamp quietly shining on the opposite wall.
“Well, Deo gratias, it is all right,” she said to herself, “now we must thank Saint Joseph.”
No sooner said than done, and after a most fervent act of gratitude and thanksgiving, both she and the Mother-Assistant went peacefully to bed, and we trust also to sleep.
The next morning dawned clear and bright. Except the ruined door, no sign remained of the last night’s alarm, and if it had not been for this silent but eloquent witness, the nuns might almost have persuaded themselves that the events of the previous few hours had been more a dreadful dream than a reality.
During the course of the day Mother N— was called to the guest-room to see a pious lady who had come to express her condolence and sympathy with the Community for the terrors of the past night. Then she asked the Superioress if she knew the person whose appearance had frightened away the impious crew in a moment. Mother N— replied that she only saw that the door was very nearly destroyed, but that she knew nothing of the person whom she mentioned. The lady then related the following account.
“When I heard that awful noise I went to the window in a house opposite the convent door, to observe the frightful scene from behind a shutter. The thought of the inevitable suffering for these Spouses of our Divine Lord seemed to pierce my heart, and I had hardly the strength or courage to look on at the work of destruction. As I gazed I saw a tall man of very noble deportment and venerable exterior come out of the little street which bounds your house at the side. With slow steps he approached the crowd, apparently as a spectator, neither speaking a word nor making the least sign. But truly he had not come merely to look. Scarcely was his presence perceived than the wretches were struck dumb, and seemed as if they could not hurry away quickly enough. Surely he must have been a man of great importance, whose mere appearance was sufficient to frighten away this band of human devils. Who can he have been?”
“Let us thank Divine Providence,” answered the Superioress, “Whom it has pleased to deliver us by means of Saint Joseph from such an extremity of peril.”
Go to Saint Joseph; in his hands is placed the welfare of nations and countries. Entrust therefore all things you can to his protection; then will it be well with you in time and in eternity.