I wrote the reflection for the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker over on the Blessed Is She Blog this week and it provided some really interesting context for yesterday’s feast—and in light of the events in Paris yesterday, some helpful context. The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was initiated in 1955 by Pope Pius the XII, to increase devotion to this quiet saint, and as a response the communist-sponsored celebration of workers that take place on the same day.
I had no idea.
It should be said that the Church has a long history of supporting workers. This is especially evident in the collection of writings commonly referred to as Catholic Social Teaching, which began in 1891 when Pope Leo XIII attempted to define the relationship between the economy and labor. These challenging responsibilities were held up alongside of the dignity of said work during the industrial revolution, when Rerum Nevorum was published. The document is beautifully (and verbosely) written, but boils down to the idea that work is a dignified means of participating in creation, and the economy is to serve the people—not the other way around.
Whether you celebrated May day with flower crowns or by delivering baskets to your neighbors; or in solidarity with those demonstrating in the streets of Paris, here are some thoughts on the Feast of St. Joseph the worker and our own call to participate in the work that is ours.
“Look, Mom! That lady is feeding her baby while she drives!” shouted the alarmed voice from the backseat. Confused by this outburst, I looked around to find the woman in question. It didn’t take long for me to put the pieces together. We’d pulled up alongside of a woman who was pumping under a nursing cover, I imagined, as she drove to work. I fist-bumped her, one (former) car-pumper to another. I explained to my daughter that the woman was indeed feeding her baby while she drove, but there was no infant behind the steering wheel (crisis averted).
Today is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. What’s the connection?
There is precious little detail provided in Scripture on Joseph’s life on earth beyond his own “yes,” after the visit of the angel, encouraging him to take Mary as his wife (Matt. 1: 20-21). His brief Scriptural appearances speak volumes about the nature of his relationship with God, as well as his relationship with Jesus and Mary.
Joseph is known as the patron of the Universal Church, fathers, a happy death, and social justice. He is nearly always depicted with a lily, symbolizing purity, or a carpenter’s square, representing his vocation as a carpenter... Click here to read more.