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The Meaning of the St. Joseph Design

Veronica has a deep love and devotion to St. Joseph especially after completing Fr. Calloway’s

Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. We hope this scarf gives the wearer a sense of safety and comfort pointing to the cloak of St. Joseph!

The scarf is double sided in hues of green, which is one of the traditional colors of St. Joseph and

the theological color of hope. St. Joseph is particularly connected to the theme of hope in his titles:

the Hope of the Sick and Patron of the Dying because Christian tradition concludes that he would have

died with the greatest consolation in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Throughout the scarf are designs of varying shades of wood to reflect the carpentry shop of St. Joseph. Veronica was particularly inspired by the discipline of Marquetry, in which the artist cuts wooden panels into puzzle pieces that fit together to create shadows and highlights.

The litany of St. Joseph is inscribed as a border around the scarf—calling upon our spiritual father

for protection and guidance. In the center is a laurel wreath that represents victory, in this case, the

victory of redemption through Christ’s Life, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. On the

four corners is a lion’s head pointing to the Lion of Judah—St. Joseph’s royal lineage. The plant near

the lion’s head is sprouting fava beans or “lucky beans,” the crop that sustained Sicilians

during a famine which they attribute to the intercession of St. Joseph. The lemons sprinkled

throughout are a nod to a New Orleans tradition in which women hoping to get married are to take

a lemon from the St. Joseph altar during the week of his feast day in hopes that they will be married

(or at least meet their husband) in a year.

The scenes of St. Joseph’s life are hand drawn by Veronica. She particularly wanted us to ponder the

events of his life as joy coinciding with sorrow. The hazel flower represents Jewish marriage and the

hands in the center depict St. Joseph giving Mary her wedding band. They had a true marriage, the most

perfect marriage, in the words of Ven. Fulton Sheen, “Mary and Joseph brought to their espousals

not only their vows of virginity but also two hearts with great torrents of love than ever before

coursed through human breasts” (The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God, Sheen).

This reminds us of St. Joseph’s courage in saying “yes” to protect the Father’s perfect daughter

and care for His only Son. The Archangel Gabriel is also depicted being sent to St. Joseph in a dream to encourage and assure him that he was the one chosen by the Father for such a mission. St. Joseph’s virtue and intimacy with the Father is deeply moving—he responded to the will of God even as he


The birth of Jesus is the greatest joy of St. Joseph—the Messiah he has ached for with his ancestors

he now presses to his chest! The coinciding sorrow is their poverty—the suffering of St. Joseph’s

heart in wishing he could offer Mary and Jesus, especially as they take flight into Egypt with its

threats and looming unknowns. When it is time for the celebration of Jesus’ circumcision and

presentation in the temple—they give the poorest offering mentioned in Leviticus 12: a pair of two turtle doves. Ritually, a Jewish couple would offer a lamb for their son after circumcision, in this

moment Jesus is foreshadowed as the true lamb of sacrifice. Simeon then gives Mary a prophecy:

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be

contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be

revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). St. Joseph’s heart must have been pierced upon hearing of the future

suffering of his family. But he clings to the hope of redemption promised at the end of Isaiah

53—the suffering servant who “by making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring,

shall lengthen his days, and the Lord’s will shall be accomplished through him. Because of his

anguish he shall see the light; because of his knowledge he shall be content; My servant, the just one,

shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear. Therefore, I will give him his portion among the


The heart and staff of St. Joseph point to His virginity and guardianship. The lily is associated with

him through an ancient legend that he was so chosen from among other men as the guardian of

Mary by the lilies surrounding each vignette of his life. In depictions of his heart, the flames portrayed reveal that St. Joseph shares in the greatest flame of love with Mary’s Immaculate Heart and Jesus’ Sacred Heart.

Our Saint Joseph Spouse of Our Lady design is available as a pocket square so the men can carry St. Joseph close to their heart. We hope it can serve as a tangible reminder of his protection and love for everyone who wears it.

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