Thank You, St. Joseph — and Joseph and José

St. Joseph, model of workmen and glory of domestic life, pray for us.

A statue of St. Joseph stands at the home of the writer
A statue of St. Joseph stands at the home of the writer (photo: Maryella Hierholzer)

“My name is Joseph.”

“And my name is José.”

These were the responses when I first met the men paid to move my furniture out of storage and into my new home in Indiana. Unexpectedly during the Year of St. Joseph, I found myself in a situation necessitating a move to a different state. After a year of the pandemic, by May 2021 it was clear to me and to others in my neighborhood in Maryland that the number of homes either using or dealing drugs in the back cul-de-sac was near one-third. I no longer felt safe walking my dog past certain homes. It was at this time, and under these circumstances, that I leaned on a familiar Catholic saint for prayers — our foster father, St. Joseph.

What was it like for St. Joseph to learn that he had to make a prompt decision to move his family to Egypt? Did he really want to go there? Did he know anyone there? Could he find work?

I was confronted with similar questions about where to live mid-2021 at a time of an unprecedented seller’s market, which priced me out of the single-family homes where my community lived in Maryland. Prayer to this saint and to the incredible woman, the Blessed Mother, my mother, his wife here on earth, and undoubtedly the inspiration for both of us, led me to listen to a call to return to the land of my family in the Midwest. Going back is hard, as St. Joseph probably found among his fellow countrymen who remained in Egypt. He had lived and worked elsewhere and yet needed to move immediately.

As my movers Joseph and José carried my furniture into the home I finally found in January 2022, I saw men who reminded me of this saint, with his meekness and gentleness in making a hard decision. As José removed the baby gates from the stairway so that we could get the furniture upstairs, he was thankful and accepting of my offer to just let him have them. “I can use these at home for my children.”

The mover named Joseph took me up on my offer to give them other unwanted items from my former home. Out of earshot of José, Joseph asked if he could have the microwave which I had offered. “I don’t have anything large enough for my dinner plate.” Had St. Joseph had the same humility, particularly during the move to Egypt, to acquire items for his family of Mary and Jesus? In his poverty, had he gently asked for help? I think so, as these particular movers were so different from some of the other workers I had hired while getting my house ready for sale.

Like their namesake, these men lived by trust in God. They lived in the present moment, always next to Christ, without needing to say a word about their faith. Their patience and kindness to me during my big move just between states was exemplary.

Moving to a different part of the country is hard. Working in a physically-demanding job is even harder. I believe St. Joseph was there that day for all three of us as a means of peace. I thank him for his prayers to see the love of God in my new home in the faces of the poor workers who put my furniture into my new house. To me, they were symbolic of my foster father, ever present on that first day.

Thank you, St. Joseph!