This winter, after we renovated our house, we put it on the market expecting that it would sell quickly. After a week or so, our real estate agent was disappointed. Why hasn’t it sold? we kept asking ourselves. It looked great, we were getting lots of traffic, and we thought it was well priced. We were stumped.
About that time, I got an email from my friend A. In it she told me that some people enlist the help of St. Joseph to sell a house. I had never heard of such a thing, but she wrote:
The tradition has been traced to Saint Teresa of Avila who prayed that Saint Joseph would intercede to obtain land for Christian converts, and encouraged her Discalced Carmelite nuns to bury Saint Joseph medals as a symbol of devotion, consecrating the ground in Joseph’s name. Remember, also, that Joseph was a man who knew about moving on a moment’s notice (e.g., the flight to Egypt), and providing for a home for his family. He also knows what it’s like to have housing trouble (remember the manger? and being turned away from the inns?), and so is likely to be sympathetic to people with trouble getting or leaving a home…
Now I am not one for praying to saints. So I chuckled to myself, thought the idea was sweet, and forgot about it until a few days later when my realtor called. “Um….” she hesitated. “I don’t want to offend you or anything, but….um….have you ever heard of St. Joseph?”
I think my laughter startled her, but she understood when I told her about the recent email from my friend. I wasn’t offended by the idea at all, I explained, just amused at the coincidence. I didn’t know about saints, but I did believe in prayer. “That’s fine,” she said. “I will look after St. Joseph. You look after the prayer.”
In the flurry of activity that followed over the next few days, I didn’t give St. Joseph any more thought. The house finally sold (hurray!) and I never saw anyone come by the house to bury a statue. When I asked our agent about it, she just smiled and shrugged.
Today, as I pulled weeds from my neglected front garden, I found a strange piece of white plastic sticking out of the ground. I pulled it out and there he was–a small statue of Joseph holding a young Jesus in his arms!
I laughed as I scooped him out and washed him off in the kitchen sink. I don’t think he has any magical powers, but he does have a friendly face. And his story did encourage me to pray with a little more intensity. So I put him on the window sill where he can watch me pack up the kitchen. Looks like I have a new friend.