St. Joseph is the Rodney Dangerfield of saints. He just can’t get no respect. First off he was roundly ignored for the first half of Church history and when painted was not painted alone. Devotion slowly developed after the first millenium, built up some steam in the 14th century and by the 16th century devotion was flourishing. So he finally gets his due with churches and people being named after him and what happens. Why of course he starts getting buried in the ground by people to sell their houses.
Conversations about this popup from time to time in St. Blogs and recently there have been newspaper articles on this. Now it is bad enough they bury him in the ground, but to place him upside down as if this will get his intercessory attention to me seems kind of like a Catholic Voodoo statue. I idea of doing things to statues to get a saints attention for me is rather creepy. I have several statues throughout the house that at time have fallen to injury and subsequently have things like hands superglued back on. If the Catholic Voodoo statue phenomenon had any basis then I am really sorry for those broken hands and assorted chipped off body parts.
Now if burying St. Joseph upside down is better than right side up, then why stop there? Why not make the statue as uncomfortable as possible to get your house really moving.
First off why not try the Abu Ghraib technique on St. Joseph to humiliate him into real estate action?
If you have a drippy faucet why not put the Chinese water torture to work on St. Joseph the worker. Get to work selling my house or I will wash your clothes right off you.
Or if you have a plastic statue setup a slowly dripping bottle of finger nail polish remover. That ought to get him interceding before he melts into a plastic blob.
But if you really want to sell your house fast and don’t want to mess around with less effective St. Joe incentive packages then you just have to get this kit coming to a Catholic book store near you.
Bury them both together and in no time you will be signing closing papers. With Jack’s supercomputer disguised as a normal cell phone and his harsh interrogation techniques you just know Jack will take no time in getting St. Joseph busy interceding for your property. Though if you later make it to Heaven you might want to dodge meeting St. Joe for a bit first.
* For details on the history of devotion to St. Joseph see Sandra Miesel’s excellent article on the topic and send a few prayer’s her way since her husband died today.
Nice. I have long been against the burying of a St. Joseph statue in order to sell one’s house. It rings of superstition to me and I would not be surprised to find its roots in santeria. In out tradition we only bury something when it is no longer useful to us or is broken (burning the item works too). I have told people I will not bless the statues of St. Joseph if they are using them it this way…it’s almost sacriligeous.
There is nothing wrong with burying the statue of St.Joseph.I have been associated with the Missionaries Of Charity for 25 years and knew Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa).They do it. I gave a retreat to the sisters in the South Bronx where their small organ was broken and they could not afford to have it repaired.On Wednesday (theday devoted to St.Joseph) I told them to pray to St.Joseph,and as suggested by Mother they wrote a note(“Dear St.Joseph,please fix our organ TODAY) and attached it to afinger of a statue of the saint.By the afternoon someone had come and repaired the organ.The late Mother Majella Berg,President of Marymount University in Arlington,was featured in a story in the Washington Post.Unable to buy land near Dulles airport for an extension of Marymount (the owners refused to sell) she turned to St.Joseph (whom nuns traditionally invoke to get them cars).She buried a statue of Joseph on the property and within the week they sold the land to her.Superstition? No.Its the simplicity of a child seeking the favor of a beloved saint.You bury the statue as a sign of dedicating the property to him
bury him upside down? Why not just pray through the intercession of St. Joseph? Why not pray the novena to St. Joseph? In what other Catholic practice do we bury something as a way to curry favor? (aside of dead bodies and broken or ruined religious items) When someone understands that if I bury a staue of St. Joseph in my yard so that my house will sell then that is superstitious! I don’t care who did it.
You dont understand.It takes a child to see the wonder in the mysterious help of the saints.It is not superstition and if someone cannot tell the difference I cannot help.I would rather follow the saints and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in believing it to be an act of faith than in intellectuals who jeer at it.You should hear Fr.Groeschel tell similar stories about Venerable Fr.Solanus.
Perhaps I more dense than a child. I can understand that prayer, novenas, rosaries, Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoartion, participation in the sacramental life of the Church are all acts of faith. I simply do not understand, try though I might, how burying a statue is an act of faith. You bring up people whom I have the utmost respect for and have read quite extensively (Fr. Groeschel, Blessed Theresa of Calcutta). Still, I must not be any sort of an intellectual because I do not understand this at all.
Perhaps the difference lies in the state of mind of the person doing it. If you have a child’s demeanor (I can compare it to leaving milk and cookies to Santa) then I can see the point. What bothers many, I think, is the callousness that some people have when doing it treating it more as a superstition than a prayer.
When we put our DC Metro area house for sale last year I decided to pray to St. Joseph (my namesake) instead of doing the statue thing. The house didn’t sell and it turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened!
I will not bless a statue of St. Joseph until the people promise me it will not be buried upside down. (I suggest that they place it on a nice table in the house and burn a votive candle before it.)
Again there is nothing wrong with burying a statue of St.Joseph in the ground and I will bless a statue (and have done it) intended to descend into the ground.Here is another story that will upset those puritanicaly inclined.Blessed Teresa of Calcutta during the Gorbachev years was invited to Russia.She made it a point to always go on date nearest a Fatima day ( the 13th of the month).On one visit she was outside the Kremlin and noticed some American newsmen arriving to film inside.She asked them for a favor.She handed them a handful of miraculous medals and asked them to place them surreptitiously wherever they could.The sisters attribut the fall of the soviet union to those medals.When I gave their profession retreat I stayed in a rectory in the South Bronx which had been broken into 30 times in one year! Each time the pastor was tied up and robbed.The sisters assured me that I was safe because they had placed miraculous medals in the windows.I spent 10 days there and was kept awake at night by gang fights ,gun shots,a guy trying to run down a prostitute-but I was safe.Most people ,I hope,would see that the medal gets its power from the person to whom it is dedicated and the blessing and prayers that are attached to it.The same with the statue.A candle lit in front of a statue of St.Joseph certainly is praiseworthy but so is a statueplacedin the ground of a piece of land that you wish to sell or purchase.It is not the physical placing that may obtain the favor but the faith that prompts a person to do it.I once also was beyond all this but I have seen so many miracles happen, that I saw that it was my arrogance that blinded me. The Washington Post told the story of a soup kitchen run by the Catholic Worker Movement.They were going to lose the property bcause the owner wanted to sell it.Mother Teresa visited the kitchen and when she learned their fate told them to bury a statue of St.Joseph or put a request for the money on a finger of a St.Josph statue.When they approached the priest he initially refused .He told them to light a candle.He relented when he found out that Mother Teresa told them to do it.The CW leader himself had misgivings he told the Post “It did not sound much like Vatican II theology but we did it because Mother said to”.By the end of the week they receieved a chack from a man in Oregon for the entire amount.
I own a catholic bookstore in California and so many people of all faiths believe that St. Joseph can aid in the sale of their homes. They always ask very sheepishly for the statues. I make them promise that when the home sells that they will dig up St. Joseph and put the statue in a place of prominence in their new home. I agree that burying him sounds harsh…
We also have frequent requests for St. Joseph statues at our store(“Is that him?”, someone asks while pointing to St. Anthony).
The least expensive one we will carry is a $12 pewter one and we encourage people not to bury them.
I wonder what you would have done if someone came in and asked for a statue to bury and then said Mother Teresa had suggested it.
Did Mother Teresa ever suggest burying him upside down?
The problem is that it is possible to bury the statue as an act of devotion, but the upside down part is pure superstition. Too many do this as a superstitious act and not an act of piety.
I still would not have sold it.
This is inane! Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, soon to St. someday I am sure, while one of the highest role models of our age and a woman of great personal sanctity was not perfect. No human being, save Mary and Jesus, can make that claim. Because Mother Theresa buried statues of St. Joseph doesn’t make it OK. I doubt very highly whether her burying statues of St. Joseph will factor in her canonization at all. In fact there are probably greater ways of emulating her example of faith that don’t involve burying St. Joseph.
A superstitious act done by a saint is still a superstitious act. This is not to malign Blessed Theresa at all. But you have still failed to show me how this is an act of faith. What’s next? Do I bury a statue of St. Peregrine if I contract cancer? Do I bury a statue of the Blessed Mother to insure the chastity of my children? A does not equal B. We cannot manipulate the saints into getting what we want. AS the saints have no power in and of themselves (it is their intercession before the heavnely throne we seek), this action still reeks of superstition.
The argument of saying it must be OK to bury a statue of Joseph since others have buried medals of Joseph just doesn’t work. It’s comparing apples to oranges; the two items — a simple medal vs. a statue — are pretty darn different.
I’ll stand with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. In my formation talk the other day to the active missionaries of charity I told them about the conversation on this blog and how some people believe that burying a saint Joseph statue to buy the land is superstitious.The sisters were perplexed how could anyone make that sort of blanket statement (as opposed to ‘it MAY be superstitious’)judgeing the motives of very devout persons .One pointed out that they are in many many countries where superstion is prevalent and thus they know what is superstitious and burying a statue IS NOT.It is superstition only when one thinks that in doing A ,B automatically follows simply because of doing A.Whereas most people who bury a statue believe that the burying of a statue like the lighting of a candle is a concretized prayer.I want to purchase or sell this property so I ask St.Joseph to facilitate it by making the gesture of burying him in the property I wish to have or sell.Superstition like beauty,I suppose ,is in the eye of the beholder.
Excuse me,but I fail to see the difference between burying a medal of st. Joseph and burying a medal of him.Its a case of peaches and peaches.
I’ve heard that you’re supposed to bury poor ol’ St. Joe upside-down, right-side up, facing the house, facing away from the house, dig him up, leave him there… Has anyone ever really done a study on this? Here’s a business opportunity: biodegradable St. Joseph statues!
If I promise to turn over my tithe to the Church can I bury Mother Theresa next to St. Joseph? It must get pretty lonely down there with only the moles and worms…
Not that anyone gives a hoot about my opinion, but I’m with those who say it’s superstition. We put our statue in a place of honor and prayed the novena, and sold our house. I can’t speak for Mother Theresa, but MY motives in burying him (had I done so) would have been purely superstitious, since I can’t believe he would interceed more for being buried than he would otherwise.
I agree that it is only superstitious if you think burying the statue is going to do “magic.” I heard a very simple explanation for why the statue is generally buried upside down. It is a symbolic way of emphasizing what you are asking for help with (i.e., selling your home). We often orient statues for symbolic reasons (the Infant of Prague is supposed to be facing the door of the business, to bring prosperity, for example.) Personally, I couldn’t bring myself to bury a St. Joseph statue, but there are those who like to follow the tradition of St. Teresa of Avila in burying St. Joseph (I sell them at my Catholic gift store). I always tell them they can bury the statue if they like, but they don’t have to because the active ingredient is prayer and St. Joseph is going to know what you want before you even buy his statue.
Just what in the world are you people reading? It just can’t be the same bible I read. Burying a statue, probably made by a Chinaman, and then praying to it, is nothing more than a pagan practice. Think about it, you’re giving power to this man-made piece of plastic. Power that does NOT come from God. Superstitions are not in the bible people. And why in the world would you pray to Joseph, who is dead? Why would you not pray to God for help?
Possibly folks are burying St Joseph upside down because they themselves are in a situation where they are upside down in their mortgages (where one’s mortgage exceeds the current value of the home). The placement might just be an indication of distress. Don’t ships fly their country’s flags upside down if they are sinking or otherwise in trouble?
Several years ago, I lost my job, was unemployed for over 2 years, and was forced to sell my home. I prayed for a job and also for someone to buy my home. Only my second prayer was answered, and it had a St. Joseph statue buried in the front yard to help things along. Did it actually help? I don’t know. But at the time, I sure wished I would have known who was the patron saint of employment, and just where to place that statue!
Over at SaintJosephSellsHomes.com they relate some funny anecdotes. One is about a guy that buys and buries a statue, and when his home doesn’t sell right away, he feels foolish, digs it up and throws it in the trash. A few weeks later, he reads in his local newspaper, “Town Sells Landfill to Private Contractor”.
They also related the story of a guy that, by stealth of night, buried a St. Joseph statue in the garden of an annoying neighbor in the hopes that it might get his neighbor to move! What a curious concept!