Devotee of St. Joseph

There was once a Christian, a father and a husband--a cabinet-maker by trade--who was utterly devoteed to St Joseph. At Church, he lit candles on St. Joseph's altar. He said his prayers daily on prayer beads that were a St Joseph chaplet. Every spring, he strove to celebrate his patron saint's feast day with all possible solemnity. He only gave alms in the name of St Joseph. He even wore a St. Joseph cord discreetly under his shirt. In prayer, he offered his labors for his family up to St Joseph, and he thanked St. Joseph for encouraging him to be a better a father and husband, and in time a better grandfather.

At last, however, the end of his life came, and Signora Death led his soul before St. Peter at the gates of Paradise. St. Peter opened the great book, and said "According to this you've done almost nothing but offer prayers to St.Joseph."

The man replied, "He is my patron saint. I am a cabinet maker."

"Yes," said St. Peter, "but you've celebrated no other saint's feast day. You have performed no great works of charity. Your only alms have been in St.Joseph's name. There are no pilgrimages here. The only credit to your name is all these devotions to St.Joseph."

The man answered, "St. Joseph assists in a very special way those souls who place themselves under his protection. If sometimes my petitions had something not right about them, dear St. Joseph granted me something much better for my own good."

St. Peter looked at the man sternly, "You have busied yourself with the secular world. You've behaved as if all the other saints did not exist. You've not bothered with anything else other than devotion to St. Joseph. That is simply not enough to pass into Paradise!"

The devotee of St. Joseph answered, "Since I've come all the way here would you at least let me see my favorite saint?"

St. Peter sighed and sent an angel to fetch St. Joseph.

St. Joseph arrived and saw of one his devotees standing outside the gates. "How pleased I am to see you after all these years. Come in."

The man answered, "I can't. St. Peter won't let me."

Astonished, St. Joseph asked, "Why not?"

"Because," said the man, "he says I've prayed only to you and no other saints."

"Well--I--What difference would that make?"

At this point, an arguement ensued between St. Peter and St. Joseph. St. Peter continuing to insist that the man could not enter and St. Joseph insisting just the opposite.

Finally St. Joseph said, "Either you let him into Paradise, or I'm taking my wife and my boy and moving Pardise somewhere else!"

As St. Joseph's wife is none other than Our Lady, the Madonna and Queen of Heaven, and his boy is none than Our Lord, Jesus Christ Savior of the World, St. Peter thought it wiser to conceed and admit the devotee of St. Joseph within the gates.

Myth's Notes

I am happy to report this is a genuine Italian legend, unlike my The Sicilian Grandmother.

I have retold it from Calvino # 28 The Devotee of St Joseph ("Il devoto di San Giuseppe"). Calvino cites his source as Balladoro # 42, Verona, but lists other sources as well. At its heart, this tale represents the popular attitudes revolving around the theological debate about significance and supremacy of the cults of the different saints. This debate was apparently the subject of some sermons that were preserved in writing.

According to Calvino, a similar tale was told with the devotee of St. Joseph being none other than "the famous bandit Mastrilli." The point of that variant was that even a sinful and wicked bandit could achieve Paradise--if he had offered devotion to a powerful saint, such as St. Joseph. In my version, I've portrayed the devotee of St. Joseph as an average Christian. There were often debates about what your average Catholic had to do to win admission to Paradise.

Praying to Saints and Folk Magic: San Giuseppe
Useful Prayers: Prayer to Saint Joseph.
Useful Prayers: Another Prayer to Saint Joseph
Useful Prayers: Prayer to Saint Joseph, Patron of Workers.
Useful Prayers: Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman.
Useful Prayers: To Saint Joseph for Protection
Useful Prayers: Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Happy Death
Useful Prayers: Novena to Saint Joseph
Useful Prayers: Unfailing Novena to St. Joseph
Useful Prayers:Prayer to St. Joseph in a Difficult Problem
Useful Prayers: Prayer to St. Joseph for Hopeless Cases
Useful Prayers: Prayer to St. Joseph in Thanksgiving for a Favour Received
The Sicilian Grandmother

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