St. Joseph Chronicles

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Dear Religious Family,

St. Joseph is the great protector and source of many gifts for Our Religious Family. This past year at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Juniorate (Province of the Immaculate Conception), St. Joseph has given many graces for which we give thanks. We’d like to share with you just one of those graces.

Plumbing Problem

There have been plumbing problems on one side of our convent since we moved into it, 13 years ago. One of the pipes would back up into our basement and cause a less than desirable flood, which of course, was a major problem. After St. Joseph provided for the renovation of our kitchen and dining room (a huge project), the problem got worse: the increased water-use increased the clogging and flooding.

Prayerful Plea

Our community had just finished praying the 30-day Prayer to St. Joseph asking for the spiritual and material needs of our community. Immediately after, we began to pray another 30-day prayer in thanksgiving. In the midst of our second trentena, the pipe backed up again during a week that was filled with graces: the Third Lujan Congress, the reception of new names for 15 of our novices, the profession of first vows of the IVE, the investiture of the cassock for 19 male novices, and a Come and See at our house.

The Plumber’s Parry

A plumber came to our house to clear the line on the Tuesday following those feasts. The cost was $1,000, but we were happy to be able to use the water again. Our rejoicing quickly turned to dismay when that same evening, the pipe backed up again! We called the plumber on Wednesday, the day of St. Joseph, and told him of our unfortunate situation. He insisted that we would need to pay another $1,000 to clear the line again. While he was at the convent looking at the problem, he proposed a couple different options, all of which were extremely costly. In fact, to permanently fix the line, he estimated: $15-$20,000!

The problem was a 10-foot dip in the plumbing line that caused anything that could not go up against gravity to come back into our basement. Upon further investigation, he realized that the dip was in a spot for which the city of Washington D.C. was responsible. Providentially, that plumbing line ran directly underneath a grotto of St. Joseph in the front of our house! He called the city’s water company and put our house on a list for emergency problems. This meant that we would not be responsible for the cost of fixing our plumbing issues for good!

Providential Prompt Progress

The next day, we returned home from Mass to see many construction workers in front of the convent, near a large statue of St. Joseph at the entry to our driveway. We quickly made friends with the construction workers by bringing them coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks. But there was one man who had the appropriate equipment to fix our problem and he was in a meeting.

Patient Pedagogy

Nevertheless, they called José, who left his meeting to come to work on our problem. As the workers waited they shuffled with sticks around in the dirt near the St. Joseph grotto and found old religious medals that we had buried in the yard. They were so excited to find the medals, like children they treasured these old, rusty, broken medals that they had found and asked to keep them. For the next three days, we continued to bring them coffee and snacks as they worked and told them about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the other saints whose medals they found in our yard. We also gave them new, nice medals and holy cards to go with them.

Praise for Our Paternal Patron and Protector

They were not required to move the St. Joseph grotto above the line they had just repaired; it was our responsibility. However, José had a great devotion to St. Joseph, who he described as the humble, silent, worker of Nazareth so they restored the grotto to its original location. The sisters went outside to see the final touches, and we realized that they had made the St. Joseph grotto to be even better than before by repainting the base, replacing the wood, and filling the small square with shiny new rocks. We ended with a song to Mary giving thanks for the many graces we had received: the plumbing line was fixed and the grotto of St. Joseph was restored. Thanks be to God for the many ways St. Joseph has cared for and continues to care for Our Community and Our Religious Family.

¡Viva San José!

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