District Superior's Letter: Feb 2012
The SSPX has always had a special devotion to St. Joseph, Protector of the Universal Church, and will soon be consecrating itself to him as one of its patrons.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
On March 19, 2013, His Excellency Bishop Fellay will consecrate the Society of St. Pius X to St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Church. The General Chapter requested this act of devotion and dedication to St. Joseph last June 2012.
St. Pius X, our patron saint, bore a special devotion to St. Joseph, exalting him especially in the liturgy. He prescribed for instance special celebrations and commemorations of St. Joseph, “Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor, Patron of the Universal Church.”
Following its patron saint and its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society has always had a special devotion to St. Joseph. A prayer to St. Joseph is said daily by all members at the end of the community rosary. In his sermons the archbishop often mentioned the name of St. Joseph and gave him as an example to follow as well as a saint to pray to. It is not therefore surprising that today the Society wants to express that devotion through a consecration.
For the Catholics of the United States, devotion to St. Joseph takes on special importance as the first missionaries of North America brought with them a special devotion to St. Joseph. Let me simply quote Fr. Francis L. Filas, a Jesuit who wrote in The Man Nearest to Christ: The Nature and Historic Development of Devotion to St. Joseph:
On the North American missions the name of St. Joseph appeared frequently. In Canada he was regarded as patron of the land ever since it was called New France. In 1633, St. John de Brebeuf founded the ﬁrst mission among the Hurons and dedicated it to St. Joseph.
The ﬁrst Algonquin mission was likewise placed under his care. Both the Recollect Fathers and the Jesuits often named islands and rivers in his honor. In 1675, Fr. Allouez called Lake Michigan Lake St. Joseph. At Montreal the Sulpician Fathers followed in the steps of their founder, Fr. Olier, by inspiring the faithful to turn to the spouse of Mary in their need.
The Ursulines and Grey Nuns always paid him exceptional veneration, for Mother Mary of the Incarnation (foundress of the Ursulines at Quebec) led the way in imitating St. Teresa not only in her sublime contemplation and active zeal but also in her love for Mary’s spouse.
In the United States one of the ﬁrst churches in the section under British rule was old St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, founded in 1738 by the Jesuit Josiah Greaton. The conversion of General Ethan Allen’s daughter during the late 18th century caused a sensation, especially when she became the ﬁrst American nun. Frances Allen, when 12 years old, had beheld an unknown man who protected her. Not until 13 years later did she recognize his identity as that of St. Joseph, to whom she attributed her conversion and her vocation.
At Emmitsburg, Maryland, Mother Elizabeth Seton placed her community and her loved ones under Joseph’s protection, calling her nuns the 'Sisters of St. Joseph.' Her motherhouse still bears his name.
Another pioneer, Bishop Flaget of Bardstown, was wholeheartedly devoted to the guardian of the Holy Family and begged him to watch over his struggling diocese and its needs. Today a number of place names on our American maps tell their own story: San Jose, California; St. Joseph, Missouri and Michigan; and St. Joseph County, Indiana."
Consequently, to revisit St. Joseph and consecrate ourselves to him has a special importance for us. I hope many faithful will pray the preparatory novena (from March 10 to 18) and join themselves to the consecration ceremonies, which will take place in every chapel on March 19th or on the following Sunday.
May this be an occasion to consecrate also your families to such a great saint, placing all of your worries, material and spiritual, in his hands and under his protection.
May the Holy Family bless you and guard you always.
Fr. Arnaud Rostand