Dear Friends and Benefactors,
On March 19, 2013, His Excellency Bishop Fellay will consecrate the Society of
St. Pius X to St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Church. The General Chapter
requested this act of devotion and dedication to St. Joseph last June 2012.
St. Pius X, our patron saint, bore a special devotion to St. Joseph, exalting
him especially in the liturgy. He prescribed for instance special celebrations
and commemorations of St. Joseph, “Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor,
Patron of the Universal Church.”
Following its patron saint and its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the
Society has always had a special devotion to St. Joseph. A prayer to St. Joseph
is said daily by all members at the end of the community rosary. In his sermons
the Archbishop often mentioned the name of St. Joseph and gave him as an example
to follow as well as a saint to pray to. It is not therefore surprising that
today the Society wants to express that devotion through a consecration.
For the Catholics of the United States, devotion to St. Joseph takes on special
importance as the first missionaries of North America brought with them a
special devotion to St. Joseph. Let me simply quote Fr. Francis L. Filas, a
Jesuit who wrote in The Man Nearest to Christ: The Nature and Historic
Development of Devotion to St. Joseph:
On the North American missions the name of St. Joseph appeared frequently. In
Canada he was regarded as patron of the land ever since it was called New
France. In 1633, St. John de Brebeuf founded the ﬁrst mission among the Hurons
and dedicated it to St. Joseph. The ﬁrst Algonquin mission was likewise placed
under his care. Both the Recollect Fathers and the Jesuits often named islands
and rivers in his honor. In 1675, Fr. Allouez called Lake Michigan Lake St.
Joseph. At Montreal the Sulpician Fathers followed in the steps of their
founder, Fr. Olier, by inspiring the faithful to turn to the spouse of Mary in
their need. The Ursulines and Grey Nuns always paid him exceptional
veneration, for Mother Mary of the Incarnation (foundress of the Ursulines at
Quebec) led the way in imitating St. Teresa not only in her sublime
contemplation and active zeal but also in her love for Mary’s spouse.
In the United States one of the ﬁrst churches in the section under British
rule was old St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, founded in 1738 by the Jesuit
Josiah Greaton. The conversion of General Ethan Allen’s daughter during the
late eighteenth century caused a sensation,
especially when she became the ﬁrst American nun. Frances Allen, when twelve
years old, had beheld an unknown man who protected her. Not until thirteen
years later did she recognize his identity as that of St. Joseph, to whom she
attributed her conversion and her vocation. At Emmitsburg, Maryland, Mother
Elizabeth Seton placed her community and her loved ones under Joseph’s
protection, calling her nuns the ‘Sisters of St. Joseph.’ Her motherhouse
still bears his name. Another pioneer, Bishop Flaget of Bardstown, was
wholeheartedly devoted to the guardian of the Holy Family and begged him to
watch over his struggling diocese and its needs. Today a number of place names
on our American maps tell their own story: San Jose, California; St. Joseph,
Missouri and Michigan; and St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Consequently, to revisit St. Joseph and consecrate ourselves to him has a
special importance for us. I hope many faithful will pray the preparatory novena
(from March 10 to 18) and join themselves to the consecration ceremonies, which
will take place in every chapel on March 19th or on the following Sunday.
May this be an occasion to consecrate also your families to such a great saint,
placing all of your worries, material and spiritual, in his hands and under his
May the Holy Family bless you and guard you always.
Fr. Arnaud Rostand