St. Joseph Builder, Provider, and Protector of the New House

On March 18th, the Reverend Mother Alphonse Marie felt compelled to entrust all her cares regarding the building of the new house, to St. Joseph. The following day March 19th (his feast day), she consecrated the Congregation to him, he was to be their protector and provider; he would build the new house for them.

“On March 21, 1850, Father Reichard wrote to Bishop Räss, ‘Allow me to present to Your Grace the plans and the project cost for the enlargement of our Convent in Niederbronn. The cost will be considerable and Your Excellency will no doubt ask us what means we have at our disposal to cover these costs. I have already thought about that. Since this is God’s work, and since this building is absolutely necessary, He will take care to see that we get the necessary help. God Himself will build the house. To this, Your Excellency will probably say: That is a nice thought, but can it also be actualized? Here is the justification for that: If we minutely examine all that has taken place in this house, there can be no doubt that it s God’s work. When we began, we did not have a single cent!’”


Being a good administrator, Father Reichard also presented a financial statement. A large part of the property as well as all the repairs that had been made on the building were all paid out, a sum of 27,000 Francs. The account further showed that they still had 3000 Francs on hand. Father Reichard states, “Doesn’t that prove that God is taking care of everything? Wouldn’t I be sinning against Providence if I were to doubt or question further protection? With 3000 Francs on hand, I will surely be permitted to proceed with the development of this Institution that I began with nothing.” (PERRIN, J. M.: The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie, p. 62).


A certain day, Vicar Pastor Lienhart received the following letter for a stranger, I have been hearing an inner voice since early Wednesday and so I must tell you that St. Joseph is urging me against my will to give the Reverend Mother Alphonse Marie and the Reverend Father a sum of 8,000 Francs, in order to help you with the building of the new wing of the Convent.”

When the decision to build a new and large Convent was finally made with the permission of Bishop Räss, Father Reichard was totally committed to the idea. He wrote to his Bishop, “The building should be solid and not cost more than necessary. I am coming to ask your Excellency to give me your support.”

On April 27th, he was able to notify the Bishop that the work was beginning.  Because of the swampy character of the ground, the building would have to be supported on stone piles, which would considerably increase the cost. But his trust remained unshaken, and he continued, “Some weeks ago I informed Your Excellency that we were assured of 15,000 Francs for the new building. It seems that the Lord is in a hurry with help for His work. How could it be otherwise, with St. Joseph as the Protector and Builder! Truly we see in this the hand of God.” (Cf. PERRIN, J. M.: The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie, p. 63).


One of her visions, Alphonse Marie heard the Savior saying, “Behold, my daughter, my Father , St. Joseph, will be the special protector and patron of this house. This Order will receive many graces through his intercession, yes, very special graces. (Then she was instructed about the simplicity of this saint.) Behold the simplicity of St. Joseph, my Father. I take great pleasure in this. That is why I give him to this house as Protector.” (PERRIN, J. M.: The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie, p. 62-63).


Founders of the Congregations or other Institutions from the beginning founded their work on the trust in God’s Providence. They saw that their trust was not disappointed. The Niederbronn Sisters venerated St. Joseph in a special way. They considered him as their provider, as well as Father Reichard’s humble faith considered him as a builder in the implementation of major construction matters. (Cf. PFLEGER, L.: Kongregácia sestier Božského Vykupiteľa nazývaná Niederbronnské sestry, s. 59).