Saint Joseph, a Man of Poverty and Obedience

People venerated St. Joseph a long time ago. His most distinctive characteristics were gradually invoked, and thus the Litany to St. Joseph was formed. In it, there are two significant ejaculations: Joseph, obedient and Lover of poverty. These virtues of Joseph also touched Blessed Alphonse Marie, who chose St. Joseph for a principal patron of the Congregation.

Bishop Räss sent a report to Rome about the events in Niederbronn, especially about the numerous visits of Mother Alphonse Marie and her revelations and ecstasies. From Cardinal Antonelli he received an order to strictly inspect the events. The Cardinal marveled at the numerous visits and that two small volumes without Church approval appeared in the press. Bishop Räss also informed Father Reichard about it and suggested that Mother Alphonse Marie should come to him in Strasburg and make her retreat there alone. Without fear or anxiety, she said that she was ready to go. On January 30, 1851, she went to the designated convent. Bishop Räss kept her for two weeks. He talked to her several hours, daily, about questions of religion, the consecrated life, and her spiritual life, especially her ecstasies.  These fourteen days helped the Bishop to make a more comprehensive and firm judgment. When he released her, he wrote Father Reichard that he gained a favorable opinion and fulfilled the wishes of both the Pope and the Church. He reported it, “In her courage, zeal and action, she does not oppose anything that time requires.” Verification done by Bishop Räss in Niederbronn and then in Strasburg means a lot for us. The Church must test the extraordinary things, such as revelations, ecstasies, and mystical graces, which have occurred to a human. A person must examine herself, as well, to determine if it is real. There is not only the Spirit of God, but also the Evil One, who presented a remarkable encounter with a certain “ecstatic”.   She claimed to have revelations as well, but the opposite was found, and everyone turned from her with resistance. However, the respect for Mother Alphonse Marie, because of her revelations, grew. Because the Spirit of God worked in her, she was obedient and submissive to the requirements of the Church. Therefore, she appointed St. Joseph, the man of obedience and poverty, as a patron of the Congregation. Yes, even as its principal patron. Because the Foundress was submissive to the Church without hesitation, new prospects for the Congregation were opened. God blessed this fourteen-day retreat. The Foundress received new light for leading the community. From then on, Bishop Räss always praised the Congregation. He wrote to Bishop Weiss from Speyer, “Her spirit is excellent.” (SCHNEIDT, G. – GUTH A.: Poučenia o živote ct. Matky Alfonzy Márie Eppingerovej, s. 38-39).


St. Joseph has a right to be called the most obedient. As soon as he knew God’s will, revealed to him through an angel in a dream, in obedience, he immediately fulfilled it. He, the lover of poverty, is an example of modesty for everyone. He appreciated what he owned and never complained about what he was lacking. According to the example of this glorious patron, knowing God’s will, in obedience, Blessed Alphonse Marie also submitted herself to the Church’s authorities, who would like to examine whether her ecstasies came from God. The poor one, she relied entirely on God, who sent St. Joseph to provide for the Congregation.