St Joseph Novena for Vocations

Mother Maria Theresia had a great devotion to St. Joseph, whose Feast Day will be celebrated on March 20th this year. Together we join in prayer to St. Jospeh for an increase in vocations to our Religious Community.
Please join us in prayer! Beginning on March 11th:

Daily Prayer
O glorious Saint Joseph,
faithful follower of Jesus Christ,
to you we raise our hearts and hands
to implore your powerful intercession
in obtaining from the benign heart of Jesus
all the helps and graces necessary
for our spiritual and temporal welfare,
particularly for the grace of a happy death
and the special favor we now request...
for the needs of our Congregation,
for an increase in vocations,
and for our Sisters
O guardian of the Word Incarnate,
we feel animated with confidence that your prayers
in our behalf
will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
O glorious St. Joseph,
through the love you bear to Jesus Christ
and for the glory of His name,
hear our prayers and obtain our petitions. Amen

Day One
In 1869 the community was growing, and the Sisters had been willing to put up with limited living quarters as space was entirely insufficient. Above all it was urgently needed to provide suitable support for the orphans. Mother Maria Theresia consequently decided to begin an addition on the northwest side of the convent and also the construction of a chapel. Work was begun on both in the fall of 1869. Construction had barely begun when Mother Maria Theresia experienced the hardship of all foundresses—building progress was very slow in the beginning and Mother was in constant need of funds to finance the project. In her deep concern to secure funds for the building project, Mother turned to St. Joseph in confidence and made him her paymaster. She promised her heavenly paymaster that if he would see that the necessary funds were at hand on time, she would add “of St. Joseph” to every Sister’s name. This sign of gratitude still characterizes all the Sisters of Mother Maria Theresia’s Congregation.

Day One Prayer
O great St. Joseph,
with feelings of unlimited confidence,
we beg you to bless this novena that we begin in your honor.
"You are never invoked in vain"
says the seraphic St. Teresa of Jesus.
Be to me what you have been
to that spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
and graciously hear me as you did her. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Two
When traveling in North America, Mother Maria Theresia with another Sister arrived in a town of which neither was acquainted. They confidently asked a seemingly respectable man for information. He indicated exactly the direction in which they should go and added that he himself had done some business in that area too. The Sisters followed his directions. But as they went on they became more and more apprehensive. The streets became narrower and the rabble milled about among the lanes and alleys looking boldly and audaciously at the Sisters. At this moment a man stepped out from around the corner and walked directly to the Sisters and said, “Sisters, I believe you are going the wrong way, you should go in the opposite direction. Hurry, get out of this section of the town.” They had been sent into the most disreputable quarter of the town. When the Sisters turned to thank the kindly stranger, he had disappeared. Mother Maria Theresia believed it was St. Joseph sent to protect them on their journey.

Day Two Prayer
O blessed Saint Joseph, tenderhearted father,
faithful guardian of Jesus,
chaste spouse of the Mother of God,
we pray and beseech you to offer to God the Father,
His divine Son, bathed in blood on the Cross for sinners,
and through the holy name of Jesus
obtain for us from the eternal Father
the favors for which we implore your intercession.
Amid the splendors of eternity,
forget not the sorrows of those who weep;
that by your prayers and those of your most holy spouse,
the Heart of Jesus may be moved to pity and to pardon.  Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Three
On a journey through a hilly country in North America where the road ran flush along a high precipice, Mother Maria Theresia suddenly saw a stranger at the stagecoach door who commanded her to get out of the coach. Since he was a stranger, she gave no heed to his command. But again he ordered her to leave the coach. The Sisters becoming fearful stepped from the vehicle to make the hazardous way on foot. The driver tried to reason with them that there was no danger nor cause for alarm. But after a short distance the horse suddenly shied and with the driver and coach plunged in the abyss with a deafening noise. Mother Maria Theresia attributed their deliverance from danger to the powerful help of St. Joseph, whose care and protection she always sought in all her travels.

Day Three Prayer
Blessed St. Joseph,
enkindle in our cold hearts a spark of your charity.
May God be always the first
and only object of our affections.
Keep our souls always in sanctifying grace and,
if we should be so unhappy as to lose it,
give us the strength to recover it immediately
by a sincere repentance.
Help us to such a love of our God
as will always keep us united to Him. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Four
Mother Maria Theresia always loved to linger at the Novitiate House in Mulheim. On one of her visits she experienced the real poverty that reigned there. During the noon meal the bowls were soon empty. She intimated to a Sister to get more food from the kitchen. The Sister, concerned, knowing there was no more, hesitated for a moment. Another Sister thinking the one addressed was tired, picked up a bowl and went to the kitchen. She, however, soon returned and placed the empty container on the table. Mother, surprised, asked if there were no more food in the kitchen. When she learned the situation, she said: “O Sisters, how happy I am that I can share your poverty!” She added: “You probably do not honor St. Joseph sufficiently here. Have you no St. Joseph here to whom we can bring our need and beg him for help?” A Sister mentioned that upstairs in a corner there was a dust-covered statue of St. Joseph. The Mother advised that it be brought down, cleaned thoroughly, and displayed honorably. Mother then prayed with the Sisters before the little altar of St. Joseph and begged fervently for his mighty help. The short devotion ended with a hymn to St. Joseph. The trustful prayer was soon answered. That same afternoon a person from a neighboring estate arrived and said that he thought the Sisters probably did not have enough to eat; and consequently he had brought a wagonload of food, and added a donation of one hundred mark.

Day Four Prayer
Saint Joseph, pride of Heaven,
unfailing hope for our lives, and support of those on earth,
graciously accept our prayer of praise.
You were appointed spouse of the chaste Virgin
by the Creator of the world.
He willed that you be called "father" of the Word
and serve as agent of our salvation.
May the triune God who bestowed upon you heavenly honors,
be praised forever.
And may He grant us through your merits
the joy of a blessed life
and a favorable answer to our petitions. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Five
In the early days of the community, when Mother Theresia’s building program was in progress, her brother-in-law, Dr. Kauffman, who was intimately acquainted with the financial condition of the congregation, often wondered audibly how Mother Maria Theresia could meet her financial obligations. “Aline, with what do you build, anyway?” he would ask. “St. Joseph will help again,” she would smilingly reply, pointing to the statue of St. Joseph. (This statue had a large cavity in the back, and into this Mother Maria Theresia would thrust all her unpaid bills.) The famous physician did not understand this explanation. Mother then laughed heartily, but immediately serious said: “Do not worry, Lorenz; I place all bills in the statue of St. Joseph; believe me, somebody always brings the money needed.” Never did St. Joseph fail her; never did he leave her prayers unanswered. Many times benefactors called late into the evening to bring money needed the next day.

Day Five Prayer
O holy St. Joseph,
what a lesson your life is for us,
ever so eager to appear
so anxious to display before the eyes of men
the graces that we owe entirely to the liberality of God.
In addition to the special favors for which we plead in this novena,
grant that we may attribute to God the glory of all things,
that we may love the humble and hidden life,
that we may not desire any other position
than the one given us by Providence
and that we may always be a docile instrument
in the hands of God. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Six
Establishing new foundations is not an easy task, and much planning and preparatory work had to precede each new establishment of the Sisters. In one such new foundation in Germany, a wealthy farmer had donated a well-furnished house for the Sisters’ use as a convent. But the most necessary requisite for the life of the Sisters was missing – food provisions and money. At all events, the Sisters that evening had to retire without an evening meal. Only Mother Maria Theresia did not go to bed. Pleadingly she prayed to St. Joseph who always came to her aid. Although no provision had been made for food, a statue of St. Joseph was there. As the servant of God had done frequently, she did now again. She placed a beggar’s purse about the neck of St. Joseph and in fervent prayer sent him out to procure bread and money for the Sisters. The next morning as the Sisters were chanting the divine office, a vehicle laden with all necessary provisions stopped at the convent door: flour, coffee, bread, eggs, butter, etc. Naturally the Sisters were eager to know who their generous benefactor was. But the driver would only say that he was commanded by a prominent man to deliver the provisions to the Sisters. St. Joseph had again helped in a very wonderful way.

Day Six Prayer
O glorious Saint Joseph,
appointed by the Eternal Father
as the guardian and protector of the life of Jesus Christ,
the comfort and support of His Holy Mother,
and the instrument in His great design
for the redemption of mankind;
you who had the happiness of living with Jesus and Mary,
and of dying in their arms,
be moved by the confidence we place in you,
and obtain for us from the Almighty,
the particular favors which
we humbly ask through your intercession. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Seven
The following incident clearly portrays the fondness St. Joseph had for Mother Maria Theresia. A large debt, incurred in building, had to be paid. With the love and confidence of a child, Mother Maria Theresia turned to the humble carpenter of Nazareth for aid; she felt that he knew from experience the difficulties involved in a building project. As customary, she placed the bill in the cavity of the famous statue of St. Joseph. That very night a pious citizen of Olpe, John Schmidt, called at the convent. He handed the portress a large sum of money saying: “I intended to give this money to the sisters long ago, but I simply forgot. I do not know why, but today I was reminded again and again of my intention, and here I am to carry out my resolution before it slips my memory.” Imagine Mother’s joy and gratitude when she discovered that the sum brought was exactly the amount she needed to pay the bill!

Day Seven Prayer
O faithful and prudent Saint Joseph,
watch over our weakness
and our inexperience;
obtain for us that prudence which reminds us of our end,
which directs our paths and which protects us from every danger.
Pray for us, then, O great Saint,
and by your love for Jesus and Mary,
and by their love for you,
obtain for us the favors we ask in this novena. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Eight
Mother Maria Theresia had a strong devotion to St. Joseph. She often prayed:
“O dear St. Joseph, be thou the father of thy children; direct us to an interior life, to that contemplative prayer, which thou thyself hast learned and practiced with Jesus, the most exalted Eternal Wisdom, with Mary, in the school of Nazareth. Let holy recollection and heavenly peace reign in our community. May the care of our house be recommended to thee, O dearest, most loyal Joseph. I deliver unto thee all our exterior affairs. Do thou, O great carpenter and chief master of all artisans, help us, thy most devoted children. We shall love and honor thee here upon earth as much as we are able, and shall proclaim thy loving fatherly care for us all. Provide for all our spiritual and temporal affairs as thou didst provide for the Child Jesus and His holy mother. Be thou our constant helper and the guide of the souls of our sisters. Help us in all our necessities. We shall love and honor thee, St. Joseph, and we shall endeavor always to promote thy honor. Amen.”
Such childlike, trustful prayer St. Joseph could not possibly refuse; especially since Mother Theresia, through her boundless faith and confidence in his intercession, her pressing requests, and her persistency, put his power and goodness to the test.

Day Eight Prayer
O blessed Joseph,
to whom it was given not only to see and to hear God,
whom many kings longed to see yet saw not;
and to hear yet heard not;
but also to carry Him in your arms,
to embrace Him, to clothe Him,
and to guard and defend Him,
come to our assistance and intercede with Him
to look favorably on our present petitions. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

Day Nine
Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph. Over 150 years after the founding of our community, our Sisters continue Mother Maria Theresia’s devotion to St. Joseph as protector of our Community. Let us pray that God continues to bless and guide our Community, and that St. Joseph and Mother Maria Theresia continue to intercede for us.
We close our nine days of reflections with the excerpt from one of Mother’s favored prayers to St. Joseph:

Day Nine Prayer
To you, O blessed Joseph,
we have recourse in our affliction,
and having implored the help of your holy Spouse,
we now, hearts filled with confidence,
earnestly beg you also to take us under your protection.
Shield us ever under your patronage,
that, following your example and strengthened by your help,
we may live a holy life, die a happy death,
and attain to everlasting joy in heaven. Amen.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

 

On the Day of the Feast - The Litany of Saint Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David,
Light of the patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster-father of the Son of God,
Watchful defender of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph most just,
Joseph most chaste,
Joseph most prudent,
Joseph most valiant,
Joseph most obedient,
Joseph most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of workmen ,
Glory of domestic life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the afflicted,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
- Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
- Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
- Have mercy on us.
He made him the lord of His household,
- And prince over all His possessions.
Let Us Pray:
O God, in your ineffable providence You were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother; grant, we pray, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

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