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Pilgrim Queen March, 2017 Pilgrimage
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““The dog’s gone.”
 
This was my morning greeting from my husband.  Before I had even finished my coffee.  He obviously had a death wish.  
 
We often dog sit our daughter’s dog.  Unfortunately for all concerned this dog likes to run.   And he runs very fast.  My husband had been unable to catch him after searching for quite some time.  So I took my coffee, went to the car, and drove all over the neighborhood searching.  And praying.  Truthfully the praying came after a lot of less charitable internal conversations.  I prayed to St. Anthony, who always finds everything.  I prayed my go-to emergency prayer, the Memorare,  Then, as I turned the corner on the last block in my neighborhood, I said a quick prayer to St. Joseph.  And guess what!  There was the dog, happily digging in my neighbor’s yard.
 
Then I was struck with the fact that March is St. Joseph’s month, and he is how this Pilgrim Queen newsletter began.  He was our first featured saint.  I have kind of neglected him, and this morning was a great reminder of his clout with Jesus.  As St. Teresa of Avila says in her autobiography: “To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succor us in some of our necessities, but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succors us in them all, and that the Lord wishes to teach us that, as He was Himself subject to him on earth, (for, being His guardian and being called His father, he could command Him) just so in Heaven He still does all that he asks.”  http://www.catholicgentleman.net/2015/02/5-reasons-every-man-love-st-joseph/

Determined Devotion

St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is the largest church dedicated to St. Joseph in the world and the largest church in Canada.  It exists because of the devotion and determination of one humble man--Saint Andre Bessette.  When he came to the Holy Cross Brothers in 1870,
Andre carried a note from his pastor saying, “I am sending you a saint.”  http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=18  The Brothers didn’t believe it.  They thought they were getting a bad deal, and at first wouldn’t accept him.  Andre was sickly, weak and uneducated.  His chronic stomach pains made it difficult for him to work for very long.  At 25 years old he could not read and write, and the Holy Cross Brothers were teachers.  They asked Andre to leave, but at the intervention of a visiting Bishop allowed him to stay.  
 
Brother Andre’s first assignment after taking vows was as doorman at Notre Dame College in Montreal.  His responsibilities included answering the door, welcoming guests, locating the people being visited, waking up the students, and delivering mail.  These jobs gave him lots of contact with people, and he used this as an opportunity to talk about his favorite subject:  St. Joseph.  Whenever someone asked for prayers, he recommended St. Joseph.  He prayed to St. Joseph himself, and obtained so many cures for people that he became known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal.”
 
In 1904 Andre surprised the Archbishop of Montreal with a request to build a chapel to Saint Joseph on the mountain near the college.  The Archbishop granted permission for him to build as long as he didn’t go into debt.  So Andre started small.  He gave haircuts to the boys at school, charging a nickel.  He collected these nickels, along with dimes and any other donations, in a small dish that he kept in a picnic shelter on top of the mountain, next to a statue of Saint Joseph and a sign “Donations for Saint Joseph.”
 
The first structure Andre built was a small 15 feet by 18 feet wood shelter.  After collecting more money, he added a roof so that people attending mass could stand out of the rain.  As the funds came in he added walls, heating and paved roads.  He built a shelter for pilgrims and a living place for those who maintained the shrine.  Of course there were plenty of obstacles, especially financial troubles.  Construction on the basilica was halted when the Great Depression hit.  In 1936 the Holy Cross Brothers convened a special meeting to determine if the project should continue.  When an elderly Brother Andre was asked for his opinion, he replied:  “This is not my work, it is the work of St. Joseph.  Put one of his statues in the middle of the building.  If he wants a roof over his head, he’ll take care of it.”  https://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/broandre.htm  Two months later the congregation had the necessary funds to continue construction.
 
Saint Andre Bessette knew that Jesus has difficulty saying no to his earthly guardian.  According to Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda, St. Joseph can obtain for us some pretty powerful graces:
 
•    "First, those who invoke him shall obtain from God, by his intercession, the gift of chastity, and shall not be conquered by the temptation of the senses;
•     Secondly, they shall receive particular graces to deliver them from sin;
•     Thirdly, they shall obtain a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin;
•      Fourthly, they shall have a good and happy death, and in that all-decisive moment be defended against the assaults of Satan;
•      Fifthly, they shall be delivered when expedient for them, from bodily sufferings, and shall find help in their afflictions;
•      Sixthly, if married, they shall be blessed with offspring;
•      Seventhly, the demons shall have extreme dread of the glorious name of St. Joseph."
 
https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/The-Saints/why-st-joseph-is-the-terror-of-demons.html

Everyday Examples: Stories of St. Joseph

A Powerful Ancient Prayer
http://catholicmom.com/2015/03/19/my-story-of-st-josephs-intercession/
 
Terror of Demons
https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/The-Saints/why-st-joseph-is-the-terror-of-demons.html
 
St. Joseph Miracles
http://www.holysouls.com/stjosephstories.htm
 
Miracles of Saint Andre Bessette
http://catholicexchange.com/st-andre-bessettes-wondrous-miracles

Kid's Corner: 

Do you have a stepdad?  Guess what--Jesus did too!  His real father was in heaven, but He had an awesome guardian on earth--Saint Joseph.  Saint Joseph was a great protector and provider for Mary and Jesus.  He is also, now, a great protector and provider for US.  He can go to Jesus when we need help, so never hesitate to call on him.
Marian Moments 
 

On October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her last apparition at Fatima, Portugal.  It was the day of the great Miracle of the Sun, when the sun spun in the sky and then suddenly crashed to the ground.  St. Joseph appeared with Our Lady.  Holding the baby Jesus, St. Joseph introduced Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel and with Jesus blessed the world.  
According to Msgr. Joseph Cirrincione, author St. Joseph, Fatherhood and Family, this miracle and St. Joseph’s appearance beside it indicate the importance of fatherhood.  “And in the convulsions of the sun I see an ominous foreshadowing of the consequences for the world which are sure to be felt if the true Fatherhood of God and the traditional, strong role of the father of the family are rejected by mankind.”  
https://speramusposterous.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/fatherhood-and-family-under-attack-the-spirit-of-anti-fatherhood-also-entered-the-church/  This book was published in 1989--before Obergefell vs. Hodges legalized gay marriage.  Before gender identification and trans gender celebrities.  How much more important is Fatima’s fatherhood message now.
 
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