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One Family's Trusted Intercessor
By Felix Carroll (Mar 18, 2013)
Just before her 40th birthday in 2008, Amy Polasky's husband, Doug, surprised her with the following proposal:
"Honey, I'd like to take you on a trip, just the two of us, anywhere in the world you'd like to go. You name the place."
Amy was elated, but she needed time to think about a destination.
During the next few days, she thought of a number of foreign destinations: Austria? Prague? South America? But her mind kept returning to one place that's not a typical vacation spot. It wasn't so much a "place" she felt drawn to but rather a saint. She wanted to spend her birthday with St. Joseph.
"I want to go to St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal," she announced to her husband.
Doug furrowed his brow.
"— and I want to bring the kids," Amy added, excitedly.
So, Canada — with the kids — it was.
It should have come as no surprise, really. That common carpenter from Nazareth, whom God the Father entrusted with the protection of His only begotten Son, has served as a powerful intercessor and a great model of family life for the Polaskys.
A Birthday with St. Joseph
Amy's birthday trip only further fortified the relationship.
Upon entering the cavernous, heavenly St. Joseph's Oratory, the Polaskys marveled at the wall displayed with thousands of crutches and other artifacts from over the years of those who came to the basilica and were reportedly healed through the intercession of St. Joseph. Amy, herself, experienced a miracle within a week following the pilgrimage when a complicated prayer intention she brought before St. Joseph was answered precisely in the manner for which she had prayed.
She prefers to keep that prayer confidential. Suffice it to say, though, Amy strongly recommends turning in prayer to St. Joseph. He being the Patron Saint of the universal Church, the Patron Saint of the Worker, and head of the household for the Holy Family, she says, St. Joseph stands ready to help in all matters but particularly in matters related to employment, family, and providing for family.
"God is so good," says Amy, who lives in Green Bay, Wis., "and He chooses to work so powerfully through St. Joseph, in a manner that can take your breath away."
In a manner of speaking, Our Lady led Amy to a devotion to St. Joseph. After all, she went to a grammar school named Notre Dame (French for "Our Lady") and from there graduated to none other than an academy named after St. Joseph. Her affection for St. Joseph intensified shortly before she and Doug became parents in 2005, when they began to contemplate the enormity of the responsibilities that parenthood entailed.
In pursuing adoption, the Polaskys sought St. Joseph's intercession to be the parents of a boy from Guatemala. There were many obstacles, and all indications were that the boy would go to another family. It turned out those plans fell through, and Amy and Doug were awarded custody. His birth name was Jose. The Polaskys changed it to the English equivalent: yep, Joseph.
Intercessor and Model for Family Life
But why this affinity for St. Joseph?
In short, because St. Joseph was strong, humble, loyal, a protector, and a steadfast guardian. He was a man of prayer, a father, and a husband with a heart full of love and self-sacrifice. Certainly, no one more than St. Joseph can relate to the enormity of parental responsibilities. Despite the duty God gave him, which entailed nothing less than the radical redirection of his life, St. Joseph remained unwavering in his trust of the Lord and in his love for Jesus and Mary.
"I read a lot about what mystics and historians say about St. Joseph," says Amy, who is a longtime supporter of the Marians' mission in Rwanda. "Saint Joseph took such good care of Jesus when He was growing up. I think he had an absolutely mind-boggling mission to protect our Lord and Our Lady and to provide for them. He knows what it's like when anyone's child is in danger. His Child was literally being hunted [by King Herod], and he instantly sprang into action."
Not to mention: Jesus was an adopted Son of Joseph. Though not His biological father, St. Joseph embraced Jesus as his own. That makes St. Joseph all the more meaningful for the Polaskys, who adopted their second child, Mary Katherine, in 2007.
"Sometimes I look at these children, and I cannot believe God has entrusted these treasures to us," Amy says. "I watch them sleep, and my eyes well up with tears. I think, 'What have I done to deserve such a gift?' I can't imagine what St. Joseph experienced when he got up to check on Jesus in the night. Even though his Child was God, the Holy Family was like regular families are today in many respects."
Involving the Children
Amy and Doug's devotion to St. Joseph has rubbed off on their children. For instance, on All Saints Day, the students at their son's school dress up as favorites saints. Joseph always chooses St. Joseph.
"We try to make the Holy Family as tangible as possible for our kids," Amy says.
Amy recommends that families keep a statue of St. Joseph in a place of honor in their homes. She recommends that, through prayer, they invite St. Joseph to enter their homes, spiritually, to protect them, guide them, and help keep them holy and ready to serve God as he did.
She also recommends that, as we prepare to celebrate St. Joseph's feast day on March 19, families pray a novena to him, entrusting their prayer intentions to him.
"Saint Joseph is such a powerful intercessor," Amy says. "After the Virgin Mary, there is no more powerful saint with the Lord. I can honestly say that any time I have turned to him in prayer, my intentions have been granted. It might not have been in the way I had envisioned or in the time frame I wanted, but in those instances, the result was even better than I could have hoped."
Amy continues, "Go to St. Joseph and trust that your prayers will be heard. God trusted St. Joseph with His only Son. We can trust him, too."