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COAST OF FLANDERS

In the 16th Century there arose a devotion called “The Seven Our Fathers of Saint Joseph”, which would later be known as “The Seven Sorrows and Joys”. The devotion as it appears today is credited to Blessed Gennaro Sarnelli (1702-1744). Below is related the brief story of how this devotion came to be requested by St. Joseph himself:

There were once two priests of the Franciscan order who were sailing along the coast of Flanders. A terrible tempest arose, sinking the ship along with 300 passengers. The two Fathers grabbed hold of a nearby plank, embracing it for dear life, as they were tossed about in the violent waves. All the while the two men had recourse to St. Joseph, praying and begging for his assistance, to save them in the name of God from their most helpless and dire situation.

On the third day someone came to their aide, appearing as a most radiant man, encouraging them to have faith and to continue to confide in St. Joseph. The mysterious man safely conducted them into a harbour much to the happiness and relief of the two priests. Upon arriving safely, they thanked him repeatedly and asked for the name of the man who had just saved their lives. The man revealed to them that he was none other than St. Joseph — the one to whom they had prayed all this time.

The two priests wanting to extend some form of honour or respect to the Saint for all that he had done for them, asked what they could do to show their gratefulness. St. Joseph told them to honour him thusly: to recite daily the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” seven times while meditating on his seven sorrows and seven joys. After advising them, he disappeared as mysteriously as he had come.

THE SEVEN SORROWS & JOYS OF ST. JOSEPH

A just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again.
– Proverbs 24:16

I – The Despair of St. Joseph (St. Matthew 1:19)
The Annunciation to St. Joseph (St. Matthew 1:20-24)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

II – The Poverty of Jesus’ Birth (St. Luke 2:7)
The Birth of the Savior of Mankind (St. Luke 2:10-19)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

III – The Circumcision of Jesus (St. Luke 2:21)
The Holy Name of Jesus (St. Matthew 1:25)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

IV – Simeon’s Prophecy (St. Luke 2:34, 35)
The Salvation of Mankind (St. Luke 2:29-33)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

V – The Flight into Egypt (St. Matthew 2:13-14)
The Toppling of the Idols (Isaiah 19:1)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

VI – The Perilous Return from Exile (St. Matthew 2:19-22)
Family Life at Nazareth (St. Luke 2:51-52)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

VII – The Loss of Jesus in Jerusalem (St. Luke 2:42-45)
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (St. Luke 2:46-49)

OUR FATHER + HAIL MARY

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