Saint Joseph The Worker

His work, example for us

Priest Rafael de Mosteyrín offers Exaudi readers this article about the figure of Saint Joseph the Worker, patron saint of workers, whose feast day is celebrated today, May 1.


We begin the month of May, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. And our Mother likes that, from the first day, we remember her husband on earth.

Amazingly, the Gospel does not record any words from Jesus’ adoptive father. This leads us to think about his life, so normal, of great holiness, and much work. He did what he had to do extraordinarily well, without attracting attention. We know that he worked as a craftsman, or carpenter, just like Jesus did until he was 30 years old.

He was an always young man, who delicately and tenderly loved Mary, his wife, and someone who found his strength in faith, to respect and obey the ways of God.

Saint Joseph is a saint who impresses with his silence, he was a reference for the two greatest people in the history of humanity, without boasting to others, without seeking prominence. No man has ever been so close to Jesus and Mary for so long. We don’t need to say anything if Christ lives in us. It is spoken differently, without the need for words, just a look is enough to understand each other.

Like all carpenters, he would have very different clients. He treated each one with kindness, no matter what they were, and carried out his work with perfection. He finished them well, and he delivered them on time. As he is typical of manual work, becoming a good carpenter made him develop many virtues. We imagine his workshop to be very orderly, clean, and his punctuality to start and finish work. Likewise, he took care of all the small details, as is typical of a good professional. It is said of carpenters that they should measure twice to be sure, before taking the next step, and this is what Saint Joseph would do.

It is natural that Jesus, from a very young age, began to notice his father’s way of working and imitated him, as children usually do. But in this case we also imagine Saint Joseph, looking moved by his son’s ability to work hard and well. His prestige grew and, years later, Jesus is recognized as the son of Joseph, the carpenter, as we hear in the gospel of the Mass of Saint Joseph, on May 1.

The work of Saint Joseph is an example for us, so easy and so difficult, of simply doing what we must do at each moment, and of using all five senses to do it very well, without leaving things half done.

Saint Joseph is an admirable model for us. A serene man, with a kind smile, because in his soul was the peace of God. Although there were many, and very serious, difficulties that he had to overcome. He never lost his nerve, because he was just – which he means holy – a man who loved God with all his heart.

For centuries, we have gone to the three with a request that wants to show our desire to be close to them: “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, I give you my heart and soul!”