Image: Saint Joseph covers with his mantle the Franciscans, a painting allocated inside the Colegio de Guadalupe, Zacatecas, Mexico. In the sixteenth century, Saint Joseph was declared patron of New Spain, hence he wears the crown. He carries in his hands the flowering rod, an attribute that distinguishes him, and the Child Jesus.
Saint Francis of Assisi was deeply fond of the mysteries surrounding the life of Christ, such as His Incarnation and Resurrection. The Franciscan family inherited this devotion to the humanity of Christ, in the mysteries of His birth in Bethlehem and of His death and resurrection in Jerusalem, and in a particular way a devotion to Saint Joseph.
The Gospels describe Joseph as a righteous man, a key figure in the early years of Jesus’ life. Joseph becomes an example of obedience. In his silence, he listens to God’s messenger, accepting Mary as his wife.
All these passages take place in the Holy Places, where the Franciscans have been present for almost 800 years. It would be the Franciscans who unearthed the remains of Joseph’s house, where Jesus spent His first years working with His father.
In Jerusalem the devotion to Saint Joseph was born. The Franciscan held custody of the Holy Land, since their arrival in the 13th century, while continuing these devotions, and wherever the Franciscans settled, they spread the devotion to Saint Joseph.
One of these appreciated devotions of the Franciscan Order is to celebrate the feast of the wedding of Saint Joseph with the Virgin Mary on January 23, a date that was introduced into the Franciscan calendar in 1537. Likewise, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, celebrated on March 19, was introduced in the Roman Missal and Breviary by a Franciscan Pope, in 1479.