The Veneration of Joseph.

In the primitive Church there are no historic records of a special cult in honor of Joseph, and the earliest monuments of Christian art represent him only in groups with Mary and the Christ-child. In this period he appears as a young man, and it is not until the fifth or sixth century that he is represented as aged, a concept borrowed from the apocryphal Gospels of the Infancy. According to the legend incorporated in these documents, Joseph, when he married Mary, was an aged widower, having as sons by his first marriage James, Joses, Judas, and Simon (cf. Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 1 sqq.).


vi. 1 sqq.). This tradition persisted throughout the Middle Ages, but is now disregarded by occidental Roman Catholicism, which regards Joseph, if not as a young man, at least in the prime of manhood. It is very possible that he died early, as mention of him disappears from the Gospels; and since the days of Ambrose and Jerome it has been a Roman dogma that his marriage with Mary was merely nominal, although this view receives no certain confirmation from the New Testament. Legend, followed by later medieval art, holds that Joseph died in 18 or 27 A.D., with Mary and Jesus by his side, and, according to some accounts, John the Evangelist. This tradition, combined with the fact that older legends occasionally speak of his grave, but never mention his remains, forms the kernel of the medieval legends and regulations for the Joseph cult. Jean Gerson, Bernardino of Siena, and Francis of Sales declared that he had been translated bodily to heaven. The cult of Joseph flourished in the West after the seventeenth century, and relics began to appear, although these were never corporal, but such objects as his ring of betrothal, or pieces of his garments.

In the early Church Joseph possessed no special day, and until the medieval period the traditions on this subject were divergent. The Copts celebrated July 20, while among the Greeks his day was the Fourth Sunday in Advent, which was also dedicated to Mary, David, and James the Just. Another day, however, Mar. 19, said to have been brought to the West by a Syrian Carmelite of the fourteenth century, gradually found acceptation, and was finally confirmed by Gregory XV. in 1621. Pius IX., in 1870, made this feast one of the first class, and declared St. Joseph the patron saint of the entire Roman Catholic Church, and Leo XIII., in 1889, ordered a series of rosary prayers to St. Joseph for the whole of October.

Joseph Orders.

All orders founded in honor of St. Joseph and called by his name are modern in origin. The following orders of men, established under his protection as the Biblical ideal of obedience, may be mentioned: (1) The Secular Priests of St. Joseph were founded at Rome in 1620 by Paolo Motta, and their rule, partly based on that of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, was confirmed by Innocent XI. in 1684. (2) The Crétenists, or Missionaries of St. Joseph (Josephites), were established about the middle of the seventeenth century by Jacques Crétenet, a surgeon of Lyons. They were chiefly mission-preachers and spread through many dioceses of France, but were overwhelmed by the Revolution, although they were later revived as heads of educational institutes in various places. (3) The Brethren of St. Joseph were founded at St. Suscien, near Amiens, by Bishop J. P. de Chabons in 1823, imitating an elder body of the eighteenth century, to conduct primary schools, assist the clergy in catechizing, promote singing, and similar purposes. (4) The Josephites, or Sons of St. Joseph, were established at Grammont, Belgium, by Canon Van Combrugghe in 1817 for the education of young men of the better classes. Besides the mother house at Grammont, they have daughter houses at Melle, Jouvain, Tillemont, and Brunelle, in Belgium, and St. George's College, at Weybridge, England; they are assisted by the Josephite nuns of Bruges. (5) The Josephite Brothers of the Holy Cross were founded in 1821 in the diocese of Le Mans by the priest Dujarrie. Until recently they possessed some forty houses in France, the French colonies, and North America, and devote themselves primarily to the training of artisans, although some conduct secondary schools. (6) The Brothers of St. Joseph, founded at Quillins (department of Rhône) by Abbé Rey in 1835 for the education of destitute children, had their chief center at Citeaux from 1848 to 1888, but are now suppressed.

The majority of female orders of St. Joseph are French. The oldest and most widely extended is (1) the Congregation of St. Joseph at Bordeaux, founded in 1638 by Marie Delpech de l'Estang; it extended rapidly to other cities of northern and western France, forming at La Rochelle in 1672 a new branch called Religieuses de la Congrégation de Saint Joseph, dite de la Trinité (or, de Jesus, Marie, et Joseph). (2) The Hospital Sisters of St. Joseph of La Flèche (in Anjou) were established in 1642, while about 1650 the Jesuit Medaille founded (3) the Daughters of St. Joseph at Le Puy. These three orders in twenty years had over 9,000 members and 1,200 houses throughout all France. The order last named established at Clermont in 1666, through the advice of Canon Laborieux, (4) the Nuns of St. Joseph of the Good Shepherd to conduct refuges for fallen women. It survived the Revolution and still has its mother house at Clermont, with some sixty daughter houses. About 1800 Mother Javouhey founded (5) the Sisters of St. Joseph at Cluny, whence they spread to Senegambia, French Guiana, and other colonies of France, excepting Algiers and Cochin-China. (6) The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Visitation were founded at Marseilles about 1840 by Emilie Vialard, who, in 1834, had established a similar sisterhood at Alby for the instruction of the young and the care of the sick. Daughter houses of these two sisterhoods have spread to Algiers and Tunis (from Alby), as well as to Jerusalem (from Marseilles). (7) A North American order of Sisters of St. Joseph was founded at Emmitsburg, Md., in 1809 by Eliza Ann Seton, which in 1850 was united with the American Sisters of Mercy and as early as 1868 had ninety-one houses with some 1,100 sisters.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: On the cult: ASB, 19 Mar., vol. iii.; Benedict XIV., De servorum Dei beatiftcatione, iv. 2, chap. 20, 7-58, Bonona, 1738; Primauté de S. Joseph d'après l'épiscopal catholique et la théologie, Paris, 1897; J. Seitz, Die Verehrung des heiligen Joseph in ihren geschichtlichen Entwicklung, Freiburg, 1908; KL, vi. 1878-1879. On the orders: Helyot, Ordres monastiques, iv. 405, 411 aqq., viii. 25 sqq., 186 sqq.; Heimbucher, Orden and Kongregationen, vol. iii. passim; KL, vi. 1874-1878.

JOSEPH OF METHONE: Greek theologian of the fifteenth century. Of his life little is known, except that he lived in Crete and was a zealous advocate of the union between the Greek and Latin Churches, the majority of his writings, which are collected in MPG, clix., being devoted to this object. His most noteworthy work was his defense


of the five chief theses of the Council of Florence, discussing at length the procession of the Holy Ghost, unleavened bread, purgatory, eternal life, and the supremacy of the pope. This treatise was at first erroneously ascribed to Gennadius Scholarius. Joseph also discussed the same council in the long dialogue first edited by Leo Allatius in his Graecia orthodoxa, i. 583-654 (Rome, 1652).


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Fabricius-Harles, Bibliotheca Graeca, xi. 458, Hamburg, 1808; Krumbacher, Geschichte, pp. 118-119.


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