Celebrating St. Joseph, the Worker: A Feast of Humility and Labour

Step through the threshold and enter the carpenters shop – the sacred space where the most loving and patient of men taught the boy Jesus.

Are you willing to admit that you are broken and hurt? Yes?

Through your hurting and in your humility, look upon our foster father – St. Joseph with a new heart and yearn for his love. Put aside the disordered longings which controlled your life. And set your mind on the goal of becoming the person you want to be. And when you accomplish this through sweat, toil and a firm resolve, you will become a true child of St. Joseph the worker, you will become – the “Carpenters Child”.

As May 1st approaches, the world gears up to commemorate the significance for workers and believers alike—the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. This day, rooted in both religious tradition and social consciousness, honours the patron saint of workers, St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ.

St. Joseph is often depicted as a humble carpenter, diligently working to provide for his family. His life exemplifies the virtues of diligence, humility, and dedication to one’s craft. While the Feast of St. Joseph has been celebrated for centuries, Pope Pius XII established the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 to coincide with International Workers’ Day, emphasizing the dignity of labour and the rights of workers.

At its core, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker serves as a reminder of the inherent dignity of all forms of labour. Whether one is engaged in manual work, intellectual pursuits, business, teaching, caregiving responsibilities, or religious work of the priests, each occupation contributes to the betterment of society and the flourishing of humanity.

In a world where work is often synonymous with stress and drudgery, the life of St. Joseph offers a different perspective. His unwavering faith, quiet strength, and commitment to his family’s well-being inspire us to approach our work with a sense of purpose. Just like the miracle in New Mexico, Santa Fe, in a chapel dedicated to “Our Lady of Light” – a beautiful wooden stairway that makes two complete circles as it rises gracefully and uni­formly in perfect symmetry. Amazingly, it has no centre pole, as every other spiral stair­case has, for support. There are no nails or screws in any part of it, nor are there steel plates, angle irons nor anything else but wood and wooden pegs throughout. The curved string­ers, which hold the steps, bend in perfect circles as they rise to nearly twenty feet. They are solid boards two inches thick of a variety of fir not native to the place, but claimed by some to be found only in the Holy Land. The steps have been trod upon continuously in the past, yet show little wear.

Carpenters and builders from all over the world are amazed that the whole structure did not collapse the first time someone stepped upon it. There is even a picture showing fifteen people walking down them at the same time. Another outstanding fact is that this masterpiece was built by just one man. And wit­nesses, present at the time of the construction, remarked that the only instruments he used were a hammer, a saw, a T-square, and a few other hand tools, all of which were kept in a small tool chest.

The man who built this Miraculous Stairway was none other than the Prince of Carpenters, St. Joseph.

The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker serves as a timely reminder of the intrinsic value of labour and the importance of honouring those who toil to sustain themselves and others. Let us draw inspiration from the life of St. Joseph as we seek to infuse our work with meaning, integrity, and compassion.

Louella Santimano è Dias