St. Arnold Janssen´s Veneration to St. Joseph

Author: Peter Dusicka SVD
Subject: Arnold Janssen, St. Joseph
Language: English, Spanish
Year: 2021

“I think generally we can say: When Fr. Arnold spoke about St. Joseph, he often thought of him as heavenly “Schatzmeister – treasurer, who could help him and the mission house in material needs.”

(Fr. Jürgen Ommerborn SVD, the head of the Arnold – Janssen – Sekretariat in Steyl, about the veneration of our Founder to St. Joseph)

“One of the first things Arnold Janssen did was to ask the Bishops for their moral support of the new mission house. When he came to the Bishop of Luxemburg, Nicolaus Adames, who himself had built a college, Bishop Adames told Arnold Janssen:

“You have to make St. Joseph the father of your house. I also did it. He then helped me to get the money I needed for building and gradually voluntary donations. So I have already paid half of the building costs. There is a good prospect that I will get the other half in the not too distant future.”

Fr. Arnold followed this advice and he didn’t trust St. Joseph in vain. When he got the money from the Poor Clares in Düsseldorf he attributed the donation to St. Joseph.”

(Fr. Jürgen Ommerborn SVD, the head of the Arnold – Janssen – Sekretariat in Steyl, about the veneration of our Founder to St. Joseph)

In the Kleiner Herz Jesu Bote from May 1875 he wrote (and those are his very own words) that the holy patrons of the mission house would help: Mary, St. Michael “and finally the dear, glorious St. Joseph, the common patron of the church and special patron of China, the protector of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, whom we implore that he will also be our protector and that he will nourish us.

In the July 1875 issue of the Kleiner Herz Jesu Bote he wrote at the end of the article about the new mission house: “We want to note that with the purchase (of the old inn in Steyl), our means are exhausted, and so Saint Joseph, whom we asked to be our kind foster father, must continue to help us through good people.“

In the Kleiner Herz Jesu Bote from February 1876 at the end of the list of donors and their donations, Arnold Janssen wrote: “Saint Joseph, implore them the grace of a happy death.”

In the March 1876 issue of the Kleiner Herz Jesu Bote Fr. Arnold published the article: “In honor of the holy father Joseph”. (Having in mind the planned new building).

He begins by mentioning the advice of Bishop Adames of Luxemburg regarding St. Joseph. And he said that thanks to St. Joseph they got the two substantial donations which enabled them to buy the old inn.

He writes: “There is no doubt that the biblical Joseph must be regarded as the model of Jesus’ foster father in many things of his life. Just as Joseph was the administrator of pharaoh’s granary in Egypt, so the Saint Joseph, is the administrator of the heavenly granaries. It is also true that the Church is the living Christ. And just as Saint Joseph nourished and protected Christ and his holy Mother during their earthly life, so he still nourishes and protects the servants of Christ who have devoted themselves to the practice of virtue in a special way. May he also protect us and implore us not only the earthly but also the heavenly bread of grace, so that we can become really good and pious. Good and dear St. Joseph pray for us! Amen.”

(Thoughts above are collection of texts from the magazine “Kleiner Herz Jesu Bote – The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart,” published by St. Arnold Janssen.)

Bonifacia “I was one of the first of the Providence Sisters to take charge of the kitchen and the laundry in the summer of 1876. When I arrived, there was only one priest in the seminary, Rector Janssen. The other two clerics were malting their retreat in St. Joseph’s convent and after wards went to Bavaria to be ordained priests. One of the Sisters once asked the Superior: “Where do you get all the money you need?” He answered: “St. Joseph always sends me just as much as I need.” During the seven years I was there, some construction was always going on; there was a chronic lack of rooms due to the large number of students applying for admission. That was during the Kulturkampf when all the seminaries in Germany were closed. This was all part of God’s plan.”

(Remembering Arnold Janssen, Bornemann, p. 80)

Weig-1 “Most of all, however, we had to pray earnestly to St. Joseph, our heavenly treasurer. As soon as the donations began to come in, the Rector started to build. Work was never interrupted for even a single day due to a lack of funds. All of this was of special value to us seminarians. It enabled us to share actively in the problems of the Rector and involved us directly in the growth and development of his great institute.”  [240]

(Remembering Arnold Janssen, Bornemann, p. 102)

Peil  “Our reliable helper in every need was St. Joseph. The Founder’s trust in God and the foster-father of the Savior was greater than words can tell. Students and Brothers alike, each in their own way, imitated his example. When students found themselves in difficulties before an exam, in math or history, they flocked like pilgrims around the image of St. Joseph. Under their arms they carried the textbooks of the subject that weighed so heavily on their minds. Later the image of St. Joseph was transferred to the students’ refectory so they could remind him constantly of his obligation to provide food for the family” [263]

(Remembering Arnold Janssen, Bornemann, p. 108)

Lidwinus “While the north wing in Steyl was under construction the necessary funds were lacking. The workers had already issued an ultimatum: if they were not paid by Saturday they would stop working. Saturday morning came and there was still no money. Father Arnold Janssen went to the church, knelt down before the altar of St. Joseph and remained there in prayer for two solid hours without getting off his knees. After two hours he was called to the parlor where an unknown gentleman handed him a substantial sum of money.” [750]

(Remembering Arnold Janssen, Bornemann, p. 256)

“St. Joseph as the foster father of Jesus and His servant, Protector of the Church and national Patron of China” is listed in the 1876 Rule (No. 8) as the first of the Secondary Patrons and in each subsequent Rule has always had special mention, with March dedicated to him in a special way (1885 Rule, No. 8). When Fr. Janssen started with the Brothers in our Society, St. Joseph, with his quiet work in the carpentry shop for the Holy Family, became the natural Patron for our Brothers. His feasts were, therefore, days of special celebration. “It is common knowledge,” writes Fr. Sandkamp, “that our founder had a strong personal devotion to St. Joseph and had recourse to him in all his needs. Many also testify that he received very extraordinary help from him.”

(Spirituality of the SVD, McHugh 1975, p. 205)

Further materials on this theme:
Fr. Rohner, Die Gebete Arnold Janssens, Analecta 56.
Old Vademecum.

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