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St. Joseph: Patron saint of happy deaths

Orange afternoon light filters in on a statue of St. Joseph and the baby Jesus in St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Priest River, Idaho.  The sculpture is one of the oldest in the church.  Liz Kishimoto/The Spokesman-Review
(Used in EndNotes blog April 15, 2011) (Liz Kishimoto)
Orange afternoon light filters in on a statue of St. Joseph and the baby Jesus in St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Priest River, Idaho. The sculpture is one of the oldest in the church. Liz Kishimoto/The Spokesman-Review (Used in EndNotes blog April 15, 2011) (Liz Kishimoto)

At the Hospice Foundation of America's teleconference Wednesday, one of the national panelists told the story of a man dying of cancer who had long ago drifted from his Catholic roots.

He still had several months to live and wanted to explore some questions of spirituality with a priest, so he went to a Catholic Church in search of those answers.

The priest who greeted him said something like: "Isn't this  fortuitous? Today is the feast day of St. Joseph, the patron saint of happy deaths."

The conversation continued in a helpful, caring way.  I was relieved that the man found a priest who was so welcoming and open, rather than one busy, distracted, burned out, as can sometimes happen, even with the best priests among us.

Joseph, considered the "foster father of Jesus" in some Christian faith traditions is also supposed to help you sell your house more quickly.

Happy deaths. Good realtor. That's one busy saint! 

(S-R photo by Liz Kishimoto)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.






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