Joseph–Worker and Father

Here’s a Father’s Day gift from Tom McGrath, a friend, father, and author. It’s a wonderful piece about St. Joseph in this week’s America.

Joseph and JesusWhen I meditate on Joseph, I think of a life spent building things, solving problems and restoring broken items to usefulness. St. Joseph is known as the patron saint of workers, so it is not surprising to me that his son’s teachings were full of references to work: “A sower went out to sow”; “A man built a tower”; “A woman came to draw water from a well.”

Parenting children is work. Often it is hard work—physically, emotionally and spiritually. How consoling it is as a parent to have the tools of the carpenter at my disposal—compassion, attunement to God’s word, life-bringing religious practices and an awareness that God too is at work in the world and at work in me.

Read the whole thing. (Take a look at Tom’s excellent book Raising Faith-Filled Kids.)


  1. Linda G: I was thinking much the same thing…people who haven’t had a father or have only had a useless father probably have a hard time of it when everybody is saying how important fathers are.
    But fathers don’t have to be biological, do they? Maybe someone else in your environment has been a father figure instead, someone who’s been kind and who has taught you a lot.

    • My father was a tyrant who fit the characteristics of someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, although he was not an evildoer of any kind. I never expected any other man to behave like that one and was very surprised to find each of my two husbands to be just as demented but in different ways. Otherwise, I have always gotten along with men in fact I work better with them than with my own gender (we could spark a whole new discussion with this one oops).
      No fathers do not have to be bio at all. I know lots of great ones.

  2. The key to Joseph’s successful leadership of his family, the same then as now, placing God at the center of the family and all relationships. This article was a nice Father’s Day tribute.

    • Linda, I’ve talked to a number of men and women in that situation and I know it can a painful day for them. I once taught a young woman who said she couldn’t say the Our Father because of the way her father had treated her. When I heard that story I thought of millstones around necks for betraying the trust of such as these. Some found their way to salvage the great archetype of father by realizing their pain, befriending it, and bringing it into the divine light. That’s always the invitation, I believe, to reveal our wounds so that we might be healed, so that we might accept the gift of abundant life and share that with others. It’s not an easy process and my heart goes out to those suffering in that way.

  3. I have always thought of Joseph as standing out of the limelight, but being present just the same. As for me, my dad, George, WAS the dragon-slayer. He was aptly named and still today, when I have a problem I long for his advice, direction and sometimes the duct tape, hammer and nails. Love you Dad!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here