St. Joseph: A Man of Hidden Virtues


In a recent New York Times article, “The End of Courtship,” a lot of emphasis is put on blaming technology for the decline of the traditional dating scene. The girls interviewed are confused about their relationships because all formality has been removed. Dating has devolved into last minute plans made over Facebook or casual texts to “hang out.” In the early stages of dating, spontaneity can be fun; however these girls are in a constant state of doubt as to the seriousness of their relationships.

While I agree with most of the points in the article, I think the most important part of a relationship from a Catholic viewpoint is neglected.

The purpose of Catholic courtship is to discern if a person will make a good spouse; as Catholics we should take these matters very seriously. Unlike the girls in the article, we aren’t looking for fun with no responsibilities. Our standards have to be high from the start—there is no room for confusion.

As Catholic women, we have to understand that we are not just deciding if we like someone’s personality or looks. We are looking for a man who would make a good husband, but an even more important factor is if he will make a good father. Luckily, we have a perfect example of both in St. Joseph, the patron saint of fathers.

St. Joseph is known for his hidden virtues especially those of humility, patience, and charity. He was a perfect example of how we should all work to create a strong interior life so that we may live our public lives according to God’s precepts. “If this foundation is lacking, all the other virtues, however brilliant, will be mere display.” 

St. Joseph was humble enough to take Mary as his wife, knowing that she was with child. He was entrusted with the job of caring for the infant Jesus, but took none of the glory for himself, always putting God first.

St. Joseph left his homeland (and went out of his comfort zone) to flee to Egypt to protect his Divine charges. Do we really think that a man who can’t be bothered to pick up a phone and ask a girl out on a date would ever do that?

While work may be our inheritance due to original sin, St. Joseph led his life of labor with patience and humility. His work as a carpenter was honest and he instructed the child Jesus to follow in his footsteps. St. Joseph had to endure many sufferings throughout his life. It was through his charity that he loved God above all things and was able to endure these sorrows.

As Catholics, we can’t begin a relationship built on a shaky foundation, if we expect to be open to new life. Children should have the privilege of a strong family life that is founded on principles of humility, patience, and charity.

The duty of parents to instill good Catholic values in their children is a big responsibility. If a couple starts a courtship that is not defined by the hidden virtues demonstrated by St. Joseph, their children will suffer later. Men should strive to imitate the virtues demonstrated so impressively by St. Joseph, while women should pray to find a husband who exhibits these qualities.

May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, let us all be sure to pray to St. Joseph, the patron saint of fathers.  

St. Joseph, pray for us!



  1. Dina-1200535 April 11, 2015 Reply

    I enjoy so much this article. So many times, we have tried to do it on our will or our own decisions. But it is God’s will and we should follow him and abide by his rules and not ours.

  2. Patrick-955401 May 3, 2013 Reply

    Great article. As a man who does his best to live a righteous life, I look to St. Joseph as my example of a loving husband and father and I ask him to pray for me and aid me in my efforts.

  3. Meg-920823 May 1, 2013 Reply

    What a beautiful article and I have prayed for a long time for a Joseph!

  4. Meesch-691047 April 30, 2013 Reply

    He is a great patron! I credit my career to him!

  5. Ramona-817463 April 30, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for the reminder of St. Joseph’s virtues!

  6. Lisa-962589 April 30, 2013 Reply

    Excellent points. Ite ad Ioseph!

  7. Laurie-933880 April 30, 2013 Reply

    So true! As a Mother of teenage daughters, the last thing I want is a courtship defined by their generation 🙂 Great teaching moments for them.

    Just a Mom
    Raising Godly daughters

  8. Margaret-966879 April 30, 2013 Reply

    Thank you so much for this article! St. Joseph is probably THE saint that I pray to for practically anyting, whether it be work or jobs related, personal relatonships, or for various reasons. This is article was a great way to start this morning for me, and I greatly appreciate it :).

    God Bless!

  9. Nigel-748943 April 30, 2013 Reply

    I possess very strong devotion to Saint Joseph.

    Saint Joseph is my favourite saint.

    I am extremely thankful to Saint Joseph, for giving me interior peace every day.

    I encourage all Roman Catholics to pray to Saint Joseph.

    Saint Joseph certainly teaches me to practice chastity, forgiveness, goodwill, and humility.

    Perth, Western Australia. AUSTRALIA.

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