The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (1 May) is approaching, and we are praying another novena to this saint who has been such a loving and effective patron for my family. There are some interesting traditions about St. Joseph which I am just discovering. For example, in 1960 Pope John XXIII asserted that it may be piously believed that St. Joseph was bodily assumed into heaven at the time of Christ’s Ascension, thereby reuniting the Holy Family in totality. This belief was widely promulgated by St. Bernardine of Sienna and French theologian Jean Gerson in the 15th century, and I have to admit, there is a compelling logic to it.
While in Front Royal, Virginia, I picked up a newspaper published by the Pilgrims of St. Michael about Our Lady of America. In this publication was found the transcripts of the revelations given to Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil in the 1950s. Leaving aside Our Lady of America for the moment, what I found most interesting were the revelations concerning St. Joseph, which asserted, among other things, that St. Joseph was cleansed from original sin immediately after his conception. Here are the pertinent texts:
“In early October, 1956, St. Joseph told Sister Mildred that from the moment of his conception, his pure heart was inflamed with love of God and that he was freed from original sin immediately after his conception. He said:
‘It is true my daughter, that immediately after my conception, I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin. I was from that moment confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men. My pure heart also was from the first moment of existence inflamed with love for God. Immediately, at the moment when my soul was cleansed from original sin, grace was infused in to it in such abundance that, excluding my holy spouse, I surpassed the holiness of the highest angel in the angelic choir.’
‘My heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men. The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them. Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, Co-Redemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I co-operated, as no other, in the salvation of the world.'”