The communities of the Daughters of Jesus, present in the Ivory Coast, share with us their rich exchange of the 19th of March, around the theme of Saint Joseph as “Patron of the Catholic Church and Guardian of Jesus and Mary”.
A humble and great figure
Since the birth of the Congregation, the Daughters of Jesus have always had a special devotion to St Joseph. It is not surprising that on December the 20th, 1864, Mother Marie de St. Charles, the Superior General at the time, placed the Congregation under the special patronage of Saint Joseph for an unlimited time.
So it was that the communities of the Ivory Coast gathered in Daoukro to mark the feast day on the 19th of march of our patron saint, St. Joseph. The day began with a reflection on St. Joseph based on the latest catechesis of Pope Francis on the figure of Saint Joseph as “Patron of the Catholic Church”, and on his mission as “guardian of Jesus and Mary”. This was followed by the celebration of the Eucharist and then a festive meal.
Patron of the Universal Church
We gathered around a small version of the statue of the crowned Saint Joseph at the Mother House, Kermaria, in the small chapel of the community to share our reflections on Pope Francis’ latest catechesis on the saint. The latter marks the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Catholic Church by Blessed Pius IX.
What does St Joseph “Patron of the Church” signify for us?
- “I have great respect for Saint Joseph because he showed a docile heart in accepting the Son of God, which for some people is impossible. Joseph loved Jesus like a father who lifts an infant against his cheek, so it does me good to contemplate this love of Joseph which is a mirror of God’s love. God transforms each of us into men and women capable of loving in this way.”
- “He is Patron of the Church through his obedience to God and his trust in God in responsibility. We try to live in trust, communication, and sharing in our communities, families, and in the Church where we must act out the truth by accepting our faults, our wounds, and our imperfections. We must accept the shadows of our lives in order to perceive the light, justice, and peace that could help us grow and enrich our lives in the Church.”
- “Through the life of Saint Joseph, I am called to become the guardian of my brothers and sisters who are different from me. A task that seems a bit difficult to me. It requires me to be connected to God because it is He who gives the grace to accomplish everything. I am also called to love the Church like Joseph, despite its failings, knowing that we are all sinners but that we carry within us the great desire to serve and love God.”
- “I have great confidence in Saint Joseph. Like him, I have a responsibility to protect the weakest and to care for others and for human life.”
A spiritual master
After these rich discussions, we gathered around the Lord’s table to “joyfully celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph, the faithful and wise servant whom the Lord has established over his family”.
Father Valerie, the parish priest of the parish of Sts Peter and Paul in Daoukro, reminded us in his homily that Saint Joseph teaches us to let God make a name for himself through us so that the glory may return to him. By placing ourselves under his patronage, we have accepted, as children of God, to let ourselves be shaped by God. At the same time, he teaches us to abandon ourselves to divine providence, the fruit of faith in God received and communicated, which we show in our vocation and mission.
We ended our sharing with a festive meal shared with the four priests of our parish.
May St Joseph continue to watch over his children. With the words of Father Noury:
“You, St. Joseph, just man,
and faithful servant,
you were chosen to watch over our Saviour
and to nurture him,
ask for us the grace to keep him in our hearts”.
of Daoukro and Brobo ,