Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of St Joseph
Devotion of the Seven Sundays

Flight to Egypt by Lorenzo Monaco

Seven Sorrows and Joys of Saint Joseph
Among the many exercises of piety practiced in honor of St. Joseph, there is one generally known, namely, that of meditating on his Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys. This devotion owes its origin to a celebrated event, never omitted by any historian of the Saint.

It is as follows: Two Fathers of the Franciscan order were sailing along the coast of Flanders, when a terrible tempest arose, which sank the vessel, with its three hundred passengers. The two Fathers had sufficient presence of mind to seize hold of a plank, upon which they were tossed to and fro upon the waves, for three days and nights. In their danger and affliction, their whole recourse was to St. Joseph, begging his assistance in their sad condition. The Saint, thus invoked, appeared in the habit of a young man of beautiful features, encouraged them to confide in his assistance, and, as their pilot, conducted them into a safe harbor. They, desirous to know who their benefactor was asked his name, that they might gratefully acknowledge so great a blessing and favor. He told them he was St. Joseph, and advised them daily to recite the Our Father and Hail Mary seven times, in memory of his seven dolors or grief's, and of his seven joys, and then disappeared.

(Recite one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be after each number)

1. St. JOSEPH, Chaste Spouse of the Holy Mother of God, by the SORROW with which thy heart was pierced at the thought of a cruel separation from Mary, and by the deep JOY that thou didst feel when the angel revealed to thee the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation, obtain for us from Jesus and Mary, the grace of surmounting all anxiety. Win for us from the Adorable Heart of Jesus the unspeakable peace of which He is the Eternal Source.

2. St. JOSEPH, Foster-Father of Jesus, by the bitter SORROW which thy heart experienced in seeing the Child Jesus lying in a manger, and by the JOY which thou didst feel in seeing the Wise men recognize and adore Him as their God, obtain by thy prayers that our heart, purified by thy protection, may become a living crib, where the Savior of the world may receive and bless our homage.

3. St. JOSEPH, by the SORROW with which thy heart was pierced at the sight of the Blood which flowed from the Infant Jesus in the Circumcision, and by the JOY that inundated thy soul at thy privilege of imposing the sacred and mysterious Name of Jesus, obtain for us that the merits of this Precious Blood may be applied to our souls, and that the Divine Name of Jesus may be engraved forever in our hearts.

4. St. JOSEPH, by the SORROW when the Lord declared that the soul of Mary would be pierced with a sword of sorrow, and by thy JOY when holy Simeon added that the Divine Infant was to be the resurrection of many, obtain for us the grace to have compassion on the sorrows of Mary, and share in the salvation which Jesus brought to the earth.

5. St. JOSEPH, by thy SORROW when told to fly into Egypt, and by thy JOY in seeing the idols overthrown at the arrival of the living God, grant that no idol of earthly affection may any longer occupy our hearts, but being like thee entirely devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, we may live and happily die for them alone.

6. St. JOSEPH, by the SORROW of thy heart caused by the fear of the tyrant Archelaus and by the JOY in sharing the company of Jesus and Mary at Nazareth, obtain for us, that disengaged from all fear, we may enjoy the peace of a good conscience and may live in security, in union with Jesus and Mary, experiencing the effect of thy salutary assistance at the hour of our death.

7. St. JOSEPH, by the bitter SORROW with which the loss of the Child Jesus crushed thy heart, and by the holy JOY which inundated thy soul in recovering thy Treasure on entering the Temple, we supplicate thee not to permit us to lose our Saviour Jesus by sin. Yet, should this misfortune befall us, grant that we may share thy eagerness in seeking Him, and obtain for us the grace to find Him again, ready to show us His great mercy, especially at the hour of death; so that we may pass from this life to enjoy His presence in heaven, there to sing with thee His divine mercies forever.

Let Us Pray

"O God, Who in Thine ineffable Providence has vouchsafed to choose Blessed Joseph to be the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy protector: Who lives and reigns forever and ever, Amen. "


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.

An excellent means of obtaining 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 Day (March19th,May 1st, Solemnity of Saint Joseph which is, the third Wednesday after Easter) . Then they more confidently hope to obtain some particular favor; often the favors they receive are greater than they had expected. St. Teresa of Avila tells us that St. Joseph frequently obtained for her much greater favors than those for which she had petitioned.

It is related that a ship containing a number of passengers was wrecked off the coast of Holland. Two Franciscan monks, who had clung to a plank for two days, were save by a man of venerable appearance who miraculously brought them to shore. Upon their asking him who he was he replied, 'I am Joseph, and I desire you to honour my seven sorrows and seven joys.." This was the origin of the devotion to the sorrows and joys of St. Joseph.

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 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. One can also make a novena by saying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be seven times on each of seven consecutive Sundays, in honor of the Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph. It is very pleasing to St. Joseph and a great act of charity to aid, in his honor, 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.

1. The doubt of St. Joseph. (Matt. 1:19) - The message of the Angel. (Matt. 1:20).
2. The poverty of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:7) - The Birth of the Saviour. (Luke 2:10-11).
3. The Circumcision. (Luke 2:21) - The Holy Name of Jesus. (Matt. 1:25).
4. The prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34) - The Effects of the Redemtion. (Luke 2:38).
5. The flight into Egypt. (Matt. 2:14) - The overthrow of the idols of Egypt. (Is. 19:1).
6. The return from Egypt. (Matt. 2:22) - Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth. (Luke 2:39).
7. The loss of the Child Jesus. (Luke 2:45) - The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:46).

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

1. Sorrow: The doubt of St. Joseph. (Matt. 1:19)........
But Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wishing to expose her to reproach, was minded to put her away privately.
Joy: The message of the Angel. (Matt. 1:20).
But while he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.
O chaste Spouse of Mary most holy, glorious St. Joseph, great was the trouble and anguish of your heart when you wert minded to put away privately your inviolate Spouse, yet your joy was unspeakable when the surpassing mystery of the Incarnation was made known to you by the Angel!

By this sorrow and this joy, we beseech you 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 your own, in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Our Father . . . Hail Mary . . . Glory be . . .

2. Sorrow: The poverty of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:7).
And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Joy: The birth of the Savior. (Luke 2:10-11).
And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people; for today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord."
O most blessed Patriarch, glorious St. Joseph, who was chosen to be the foster father of the Word made flesh, your sorrow at seeing the Child Jesus born in such poverty was suddenly changed into heavenly exultation when you did hear the angelic hymn and beheld the glories of that resplendent night.

By this sorrow and this joy, we implore you 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 . . .

3. Sorrow: The Circumcision. (Luke 2:21).
And when eight days were fulfilled for his circumcision, his name was called Jesus, the name given to him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Joy: The Holy Name of Jesus. (Matt. 1:25).
And he did not know her until she brought forth her first born son. And he called his name Jesus.
O glorious St. Joseph you faithfully obeyed the law of God, and your 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 you new life and filled you with quiet joy.

By this sorrow and this 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 . . .

4. Sorrow: The prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34).
And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, "Behold this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And your own soul a sword shall pierce.
Joy: The effects of the Redemption. (Luke 2:38).
And coming up at that very hour, she began to give praise to the Lord, and spoke of him to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
O most faithful Saint who shared the mysteries of our Redemption, glorious St. Joseph, the prophecy of Simeon regarding the sufferings of Jesus and Mary caused you to shudder with mortal dread, but at the same time filled you with a blessed joy for the salvation and glorious resurrection which, he foretold, would be attained by countless souls.

By this sorrow and this joy, obtain for us that we may be among 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 . . .

5. Sorrow:
The flight into Egypt. (Matt. 2:14).
So he arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and withdrew into Egypt.
Joy: The overthrow of the idols of Egypt. (Is. 19:1).
The burden of Egypt. Behold the Lord will ascend upon a swift cloud and will enter into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt will be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst thereof.
O most watchful Guardian of the Incarnate Son of God, glorious St. Joseph, what toil was your in supporting and waiting upon the Son of the most high God, especially in the flight into Egypt! Yet at the same time, how you did rejoice to have always near you God Himself, and to see the idols of the Egyptians fall prostrate to the ground before Him.

By this sorrow and this 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 affection 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 . . .

6. Sorrow: The return from Egypt. (Matt. 2:22).
But hearing that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there; and being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee.
Joy: Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth. (Luke 2:39).
And when they had fulfilled all things prescribed in the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, into their own town of Nazareth.
O glorious St. Joseph, an angel on earth, you did marvel to see the King of Heaven obedient to your commands, but your consolation in bringing Jesus out of the land of Egypt was troubled by your fear of Archelaus; nevertheless, being assured by the Angel, you dwelt in gladness at Nazareth with Jesus and Mary.

By this sorrow and this 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 may, like you, die in their company.
Our Father . . . Hail Mary . . . Glory be . . .

7. Sorrow: The loss of the Child Jesus. (Luke 2:45).
And not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem in search of him
Joy: The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:46).
And it came to pass after three days, that they found him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
O glorious St. Joseph, pattern of all holiness, when you did lose, through no fault of your own, the Child Jesus, you sought Him sorrowing for the space of three days, until with great joy you did find Him again in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors.

By this sorrow and this joy, we supplicate you, 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 you, may we sing the praises of His Divine mercy forever.
Our Father . . . Hail Mary . . . Glory be . . .

Antiphon . 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.

Let Us Pray .
O God, Who in Your ineffable Providence did vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother, grant, we beseech You, that he whom we venerate as our protector on earth may be our intercessor in Heaven. Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

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