Laura Range reviews Saint Joseph: Watch Over My Family, a beautiful book to introduce one of the most powerful yet humble saints in heaven.
They say you don’t choose a saint, but rather a saint chooses you. You might find yourself being nudged to learn more about a certain saint, or they keep popping up in articles you read or conversations you have. Or perhaps you just feel a strong and unexplainable connection to a saint. Whatever the case, the saints are a beautiful gift from the Lord to help us on our own way to heaven -- friends who have gone before us and are just waiting to help us on the journey with their witness and examples as well as their prayers. And when it comes to being chosen by a saint, I would venture to say that this year, there’s one saint who has chosen all of us: St. Joseph.
In December of 2020, Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph, to be celebrated through the feast of the Immaculate Conception this December of 2021. As we wind down these last few months of the special year, there’s still time to get to know St. Joseph better and to introduce him to your children beyond the story of the Nativity. Though we commonly think of him as the foster father of Jesus, there’s so much more to unpack about this powerhouse saint that shows he is truly a saint for our lives, for our families, and for our times.
In May, I completed a 33-day consecration to St. Joseph and was amazed by all I learned about him. If you are looking for a guide and protector for your family, he will lead your family through these turbulent times to our eternal destination. Pillar of Families, Terror of Demons, Glory of Home Life, Mirror of Patience-- these are just a few of his titles that show what a great spiritual advocate we mothers can have in him.
Saint Joseph: Watch Over My Family by Sabine du Mesnil and Hengjing Zang was published by Ignatius Press and released earlier this year. It is an absolute treasure to introduce your school-age children to St. Joseph. The writing is beautiful -- full of information, yet written in such a way that draws children into God’s love and the ways he has provided for us with St. Joseph as a patron and earthly father -- a “shadow” of our Heavenly Father.
I appreciated that it went beyond the normal things we hear about St. Joseph, and dug deeper into his virtues and character. Part 1 discusses what we know about St. Joseph from Scripture and the ways He followed God in his own spiritual life -- and how He led God the Son by helping Mary to raise Jesus, teaching and guiding and protecting Him as an earthly father. These pages are also full of relevant Scripture verses and quotes from other saints. Part 2 shares ways we can imitate the virtues of St. Joseph, and gives children specific and practical ways to grow in prayer and holiness. Part 3 is a collection of prayers to St. Joseph (including a short children’s novena!) and a few stories of miracles due to his intercession.
I was so impressed with the quality of this book. The book itself is a lovely hardcover with nice illustrations, but the writing particularly shows this book is well-researched, age-appropriate, and full of grace that will gently lead children to not only a deep friendship with and devotion to St. Joseph, but also lead them to greater virtue and prayer in their daily lives. We still have a couple months of the Year of St. Joseph -- and certainly our friendship with him need not stop then! Saint Joseph, Watch Over My Family would make a lovely gift for All Saints Day, Christmas, or perhaps even the Feast of the Holy Family on December 26.
Copyright 2021 Laura Range
Images: Canva Pro; book interiors courtesy of Ignatius Press/Magnificat, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Laura Range is an RN-turned-SAHM living in rural Ohio. A wife and mother of 3 (plus one in heaven), she is passionate about marriage and family life, redeeming the culture, and cultivating community. She enjoys cooking (and eating) tasty food, crafting and DIY, good books, little moments, and keeping it real. She runs a local miscarriage ministry and blogs at Life is Beautiful.