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Louisa Ikena discusses her longtime devotion to Saint Joseph.

I grew up calling Saint Joseph “Joe.” Joe, pray for us. I learned that playful devotion from my father. Dad would say to me, “Mary’s busy. Everybody’s talking to her. Talk to Joe.” I knew not to take my dad too literally because I saw him praying a Rosary as well as turning to Saint Joseph for intercession. I do think my dad’s point is well taken though; Saint Joseph does tend to be the most forgotten member of the Holy Family.

We recently celebrated a Year of Saint Joseph from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021. During that holy time, I chose to read the book Consecration to Saint Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Donald H. Calloway, MIC. And I chose to do the 33-day journey of consecration to Saint Joseph, concluding in February 2021. I had done the 33 Days to Morning Glory consecration to Our Lady in August 2017. And I have considered myself consecrated to Our Lord Jesus since my Confirmation in 1991. I love that I am currently consecrated to the entire Holy Family.

My dad (who lived December 24, 1932 to February 23, 2016) had a beautiful Catholic faith. He was raised by a devout Catholic mother (whose first name, Irene, I share as one of my middle names). My dad’s dad died when my dad was two years old. Growing up without a father was hard for him. Early on, he was encouraged to turn to Saint Joseph as a father. That’s exactly what he did, and he taught me to do so as well. Because of this family dynamic, I’ve always thought of Saint Joseph in a grandfatherly kind of way. I’ve thought of Joe as both wise and fun loving. Although I have no Biblical example of Saint Joseph being fun loving, I have experiential examples of prayers answered playfully and with playful timing.




Some of my favorite titles of Saint Joseph are Noble Offspring of David, Foster Father of the Son of God, Head of the Holy Family, and Model of Workmen. While Father Calloway does a much more comprehensive and thorough exploration of these titles in his book on Saint Joseph, I would like to discuss what each means to me.

Saint Joseph is a Noble Offspring of David.

King David had many qualities to admire, in addition to many sinful tendencies to avoid, if possible. I love how God used him as his instrument in our story of salvation. Saint Joseph was, indeed, noble. And in his veins ran the blood of kings. With the coming of Christ, we are each made priest, prophet, and king by virtue of our baptism. Jesus grew in wisdom and virtue with the help of both Our Lady and Saint Joseph.

Noble Offspring of David, pray for us.

Saint Joseph is the foster father of the Son of God.

As Catholics we believe that Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God. Jesus’s Father was and is God the Father. That’s part of the reason I find the prayer that Jesus taught us so compelling: ”Our Father.” And Saint Joseph was Jesus’s foster father here on earth. We believe that Jesus, growing up, was obedient to His parents. We believe Jesus did not sin. Therefore, He honored His father and His mother. Why would He ever stop? Even today when Saint Joseph presents a prayer to Jesus, I believe Jesus is all ears. Why not utilize our friends in heaven, the saints, to intercede for us as well?

Foster Father of the Son of God, pray for us.

Saint Joseph is Head of the Holy Family.

Can you imagine? Jesus, the Word Incarnate, and Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin, were both obedient to ordinary, lowly carpenter Joe. It’s tempting to say that St. Joseph must have possessed a level of holiness that exceeds that which you and I can reach. But the truth is we are all given the grace to live out the vocation in life God calls us to. I choose to say, if St. Joseph can live that level of holiness, then it’s possible for me, too. I also say, “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”

Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.

St. Joseph is Model of Workmen.

When it comes to work, I frequently ask the intercession of Saint Joseph. Many times, in my current job in health care, I’ll pray a Litany to Saint Joseph in the parking lot before clocking in. Joe knows the value and dignity and the ups and downs of work. He is our example of how every aspect of work can become a prayer.

Model of Workmen, pray for us.


Click to tweet:
May we take into our everyday lives the virtues of Saint Joseph and ask his intercession as we strive to be holy. #CatholicMom

In 2022 I chose to celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, March 19, with a feast day Zoom party. To celebrate in this way reinforced that I don’t need to take myself so seriously. The Zoom party contained fun and prayerful moments. How will we celebrate Joe’s feast day (observed on March 20 in 2023) this year? I find it a good question to ponder. There are so many possibilities! May we take into our everyday lives the virtues of Saint Joseph and ask his intercession as we strive to be holy.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.



Copyright 2023 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena
Images: Canva