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Our Ideal: Saint Joseph

«Our Pious Society has the high honour to be named after St. Joseph Spouse of the Virgin Mary. Such denomination, suggested by the needs to put our work under so great Protection, was born together with the Congregation, which, since the beginning, was consecrated to St. Joseph. She inherited, with the name, part of the Confreres of the secular Congregation, previously instituted in our Collegio Artigianelli of Turin, which later on was transformed in religious Congregation.

Such denomination was spontaneous both in the first and in the successive Institution, because both of them were primarily destined to the sanctification of labourers, of whom St. Joseph is the exemplar and the Patron. And also because the Congregation came to life in a most opportune time for it. Never indeed, as it is at present, the devotion to this great Saint, whom God willed, for highest goals of His Providence, keep as in the dark during many centuries, was intensifying and spreading in the Church.

His cult moreover had its greater manifestation, when Pope Pious IX, of venerated memory, solemnly proclaimed on December 8th 1870 Saint Joseph Universal Patron of the Church. Our Pious Society was instituted only three years later, and placed under this most valid protection. As ours, as other Institutions, both of men and women, were named after St. Joseph.

Saint Joseph is for us that faithful and prudent servant God put at the head of his Family and from whom we have to take direction and example. He must inform with His spirit our Congregation that, in the name itself of this Saint, has already clearly outlined the program of her being and her doing. Therefore Saint Joseph’s virtues must be ours, and his ministries must be ours.

Saint Joseph is the speaking rule of the Congregation, in which all ought to be Josephan, and from which every thing not being according to Saint Joseph’s spirit ought to lie outside.

Among the virtues these must be outstanding in us: humility; hidden life and poverty accompanied by a fervent devotion to the Immaculate Virgin and the S. Heart of Jesus. Nobody in fact, more than Saint Joseph, knew and appreciated the privileges of Mary, and nobody more than him, after Mary, penetrated into the secrets of God’s love for men.

As for the works and ministries, we learn from St. Joseph the laborious life, zeal for the souls, mainly those of the youth, and generosity in sacrifice.

If we want that our Congregation may last and spread in the Church of God, it is indispensable to keep alive in her, not only the name, but also the spirit of St. Joseph. If this should fail or diminish - God forbid! - the Congregation life too would lessen and her ministries would weaken; because the Institutions live and flourish by virtue of the spirit that created them.

And so, as the other Congregations live and flourish, one especially by the obedience, one by the most strict poverty, one by the preaching and one by the teaching, our Congregation shall have a prosperous and lasting life if, in the attentive and diligent imitation of Saint Joseph, she will strive to always practice humility and charity, her characteristic virtues, and if she will constantly improve in them».

(From "Il fine della Pia Società torinese di san Giuseppe" by Fr. Eugenio Reffo – co-founder of the Congregation of Saint Joseph – Tipografia PP. Giuseppini – Pinerolo – pp. 33-35)

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