Saint Joseph, “Foster-Father” and a Patron of the Motherhouse and the Congregation

A family is the basic cell of the community. The head of the Holy Family was St. Joseph, whom we also call foster-father of Jesus. Despite the difficulties they met, that there was no room for them in the inn in Bethlehem, that they have to fly to Egypt, etc. he always took care to find a shelter for Jesus and Mary. As a foster-father, he took good care of the child Jesus and raised Him in wisdom.“By 1857 the Congregation had been in existence for eight years. ´Klösterle´, which means the ´Little Convent´, had long since proved inadequate for their needs. A larger convent had been erected in the same place and it was with a sad heart that Mother Alphonse left the dear “Little Convent” for the new one. She had received so many graces there! But the new convent, in turn, soon proved inadequate too. With postulants coming from all parts of the country, there was not enough space to lodge them.

Meanwhile, they learned that the ancient castle of Oberbronn, some two miles distant, was on sale. The sum was considerable but not discouraging. The estate itself, once furnished, would become for the novitiate a haven of calm and solitude in the midst of a beautiful park, with walks under tall majestic trees; a veritable oasis of peace and silence. From here, meditation and prayer would mount to God together with the song of birds, the hum of bees, the perfume of flowers. True monastic poverty, however, it was not endangered in any way in this ancient castle. Sole luxury was reserved for the chapel whose choir was ornate with beautiful paintings representing St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Teresa, and St. Joseph whom Mother Alphonse Marie had established in the Motherhouse and in the whole Congregation, as the foster-father and principal patron” (CRISTIANI, L.: Extatička z Niederbronnu, p. 126-127).

Mother Alphonse Marie, Foundress and mother of the religious family, took care of the needs of her “daughters”. When there was no room for new postulants, she invoked and relied on St. Joseph, who helped her to provide a new home, which became a motherhouse for the whole religious family.  There, her “youngest daughters” – novices, in a veritable oasis of peace and silence, grew in knowledge of their Bridegroom and their vocation. Therefore, there is no wonder that St. Joseph was established as the foster-father and principal patron for the Motherhouse and the whole Congregation.