On May 1st at Silverstream Priory (together with Le Barroux and some other Benedictine houses) we keep the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. The antiphons and responsories are strewn with alleluias, giving a paschal brightness to the celebration of the feast that contrasts with the feast kept on March 19th.
In honour of Saint Joseph, and in this Mectildian Jubilee Year, I decided to translate the account of Saint Joseph’s apparition to Mother Mectilde on 19 March 1653. Mother Mectilde, very much like her Carmelite counterpart, Saint Teresa of Avila, had a tender devotion to Saint Joseph, entrusting to him all her needs and cares. Saint Joseph, for his part, did not disappoint her. Here is the text I translated:
On 19 March, the feast of Saint Joseph, the Holy Ghost, speaking inwardly to the heart of Mother Mectilde, during her mental prayer, unveiled before her again all the beauties of the work to which she was called and urged her gently to bring to it all her care. Frightened by her unworthiness and her inability, she exclaimed, “But who, Lord, will be the sustainer and support of this work?”
Suddenly a heavenly vision presented itself in a brightness that cannot be expressed; and Mother Mectilde recognised the chaste spouse of Mary, the glorious Saint Joseph. He appeared a little bit on in years; his face, surrounded by chestnut coloured hair, was somewhat long, and it shone with an indescribable sweetness. “It is I,” said he, addressing himself to Mother Mectilde, “it is I who was chosen by Our Lord to be the dispenser of the singular graces that He proposes to give to the Institute.” And he assured her, with an ineffable tenderness, that he would look after the Institute with the same care with which he had looked after the family of the Incarnate Word.
The Divine Saviour Himself then caused His voice to be heard in Mother Mectilde’s ears: “This is my undertaking,” He said several times, “I shall make it succeed.” Mother Mectilde took the liberty of answering Him, “If it is Thy undertaking, Lord, grant me the grace that the Blessed Sacrament be given us; and thou, O great saint Joseph, do thy duty as mediator in procuring this for us.”
Seven days later, against all expectations, Dom Roussel, the prior of Saint–Germain–des–Prés under whose authority Mother Mectilde and her community fell, granted the privilege of reservation of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of solemn exposition in the community’s provisional little chapel.
Confident in the power of Saint Joseph’s intercession, you may want to pray with me today:
O glorious Saint Joseph,
spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
just man, son of David,
whom the very Son of God did love, honour, and obey,
treating thee in all things as the most devoted son treats his father,
I promise and resolve, from this day forward,
to look to thee as to my own father,
to love thee, honour thee, and obey thee with filial devotion,
and to leave to thy paternal solicitude
all my needs, my anxieties, and my cares.
I am confident that thou wilt be to me a father,
and the best of fathers,
and that, under thy protection and in thy care,
I shall want for nothing.