Devotion to St. Joseph - the Seven Sundays

Ven. Januarius Sarnelli, C.SS.R. (d. 1744)

An excellent means to obtain special favors through the intercession of St. Joseph is to honor his seven sorrows and seven joys by the devotion of the seven Sundays.   This devotion may be practiced at any time of the year, but fervent clients of St. Joseph like to venerate him especially on the seven Sundays preceding his feast.  Then they more confidently hope to obtain some particular favor; often the favors they receive are greater than they had expected.  St. Teresa tells us that St. Joseph frequently obtained for her much greater favors than those for which she had petitioned.

The seven Sundays in honor of St. Joseph are observed in the following manner: Holy Communion is received in his honor on seven consecutive Sundays, and on each Sunday the prayers in honor of the seven sorrows and the seven joys of St. Joseph are recited.

It is related that two Franciscan friars once suffered shipwreck during a voyage across the ocean.  By clinging to a plank, they kept themselves above water for three days, but were so violently tossed and buffeted by the waves that they were in grave danger of being drowned.   Having always faithfully venerated St. Joseph, they now fervently invoked his aid in their extreme peril.  Their confidence was soon rewarded.  The fury of the storm abated, the sky became clear and the sea calm, and their joy was unspeakable when they suddenly beheld a man of celestial beauty, who greeted them kindly and guided them safely to shore.  When they reached land, the two religious cast themselves at the feet of their rescuer to thank him, for they supposed him to be an angel.  But the celestial visitor replied: “I am Joseph; if you wish to do something pleasing to me, never let a day pass without saying the Our Father and the Hail Mary seven times in honor of the seven joys that consoled me during the days I spent on earth in the company of Jesus and Mary.”  After these words he vanished.

Dear clients of St. Joseph, if you desire to serve him according to his wishes, prefer this devotion to every other in his honor, since he himself designated it and declared how pleasing it is to him.  Comply with his wishes in this regard, and rest assured that this devotion will be an excellent means to obtain precious graces and favors through his intercession.  We can best recognize our friends by their sympathy for us in our joys and sorrows, for it is here that true charity manifests itself.  And for this reason Holy Church so frequently reminds us of the joyful and sorrowful mysteries in the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  Clients of St. Joseph have joyfully received and practiced the devotion of the seven Sundays.

Those who are seeking a special request may also have seven Masses said in honor of St. Joseph, or assist at seven Masses, give alms or fast seven times, make seven visits to a chapel or to an image of the saint.  A novena may be made by daily saying the prayers of the seven sorrows and seven joys of St. Joseph; or this devotion may be performed for thirty days, and ended with the reception of the sacraments.  It is very pleasing to St. Joseph and a great act of charity in his honor, to aid those souls in purgatory who during life practiced special devotion to him.   In our various necessities, we might promise St. Joseph that if he comes to our aid we will have one or more Masses said for the poor souls or offer Holy Communion for them.

St. Teresa, who experienced the power and aid of St. Joseph in an astonishing manner, exhorts everyone, for love of God, to make a trial of practicing devotion to this glorious saint.  She tells us that she cannot remember ever having asked St. Joseph for anything at any time without receiving it.


(for those unable to receive Sacramental Communion)

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the most Holy Sacrament.  I love Thee above all things, and I desire to receive Thee sacramentally.  Come at least spiritually into my heart.  I embrace Thee, as if Thou wert already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee.


1.  O chaste Spouse of Mary most holy, glorious St. Joseph, great was the trouble and anguish of thy heart when thou wast minded to put away privately thine inviolate spouse, yet thy joy was unspeakable when the surpassing mystery of the Incarnation was made known to thee by the angel!

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, we beseech thee to comfort our souls, both now and in the sorrows of our final hour, with the joy of a good life and a holy death, after the pattern of thine own,  in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

2.  O most blessed Patriarch, glorious St. Joseph, who wast chosen to be the foster father of the Word made flesh, thy sorrow at seeing the child Jesus born in such poverty was suddenly changed into heavenly exultation when thou didst hear the angelic hymn and didst behold the glories of that resplendent night.

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, we implore thee to obtain for us the grace to pass over from life's pathway to hear the angelic songs of praise, and to rejoice in the shining splendor of celestial glory.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

3.  O glorious St. Joseph, thou who didst faithfully obey the law of God, thy heart was pierced at the sight of the precious blood that was shed by the infant Savior during his circumcision, but the name of Jesus gave thee new life and filled thee with quiet joy.

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us the grace to be freed from all sin during life, and to die rejoicing, with the holy name of Jesus in our hearts and on our lips.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

4.  O most faithful saint, glorious St. Joseph, who didst share the mysteries of our redemption, the prophecy of Simeon touching the sufferings of Jesus and Mary caused thee to shudder with mortal dread, but at the same time filled thee with a blessed joy for the salvation and glorious resurrection which he foretold would be attained by countless souls.

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us that we may be of the number of those who, through the merits of Jesus and the intercession of Mary, the Virgin Mother, are predestined to a glorious resurrection.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

5.  O most watchful guardian of the Incarnate Son of God, glorious St. Joseph, what toil was thine in supporting and waiting upon the Son of the Most High God, especially in the flight into Egypt!  Yet, at the same time, how thou didst rejoice to have near thee always the very God Himself, and to see the idols of the Egyptians fall prostrate to the ground before Him.

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us the grace of keeping ourselves in safety from the infernal tyrant, especially by flight from dangerous occasions; may every idol of earthly affections fall from our hearts;  may we be wholly employed in serving Jesus and Mary, and for them alone may we live and happily die.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

6.  O glorious St. Joseph, an angel on earth, thou didst marvel to see the King of heaven obedient to thy commands, but thy consolation in bringing Jesus out of the land of Egypt was troubled by the fear of Archelaus; nevertheless, being assured by the angel, thou didst dwell in gladness at Nazareth with Jesus and Mary.

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, obtain for us that our hearts may be delivered from harmful fears, so that we may rejoice in peace of conscience, and may live in safety with Jesus and Mary, and like unto thee, may die in their company.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

7.  O glorious St. Joseph, pattern of all holiness, when thou didst lose through no fault of thine, the Child Jesus, thou didst seek Him sorrowing for the space of three days until with great joy thou didst find Him again in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors.

By this thy sorrow and this thy joy, we supplicate thee, with our hearts upon our lips, to keep us from ever having the misfortune to lose Jesus through mortal sin;  but if this supreme misfortune should befall us, grant that we may seek Him with unceasing sorrow until we find Him again, ready to show us his great mercy, especially at the hour of death so that we may pass over to enjoy His presence in heaven, and there, in company with thee, we may sing the praises of His divine mercy forever.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.


And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years, being (as it was supposed) the Son of Joseph.

V. Pray for us, O holy Joseph,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


O God, who in Thine ineffable Providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in heaven, whom we venerate on earth as our protector, Who livest and reignest world without end.  Amen.