An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Never Knew

St. Joseph has always had a special place in my heart. I never knew why, or when it started, but it's always been there.

As a little girl I would look at the statue of St. Joseph in church and worry that, next to Mary and Jesus, he was overlooked. As a result, whenever I said a prayer to Mary, I would say one to St. Joseph, too, because I didn't want him to feel left out.

Years later, when I wanted to establish a family tradition which combined our faith and our Italian heritage, we began celebrating the Feast Day of St. Joseph: lots of people, all the parish priests, piles and piles of food, the traditional story of the fava bean, Italian music, bocce in the backyard, and kids running around everywhere. St. Joseph became an important part of our family.

Then, two years ago a woman in my Bible Study encouraged each of us to pull a saint's name out of a basket and allow that saint to work in our life for a period of 12 months. The underlying concept was this: although you physically drew the saint's name, the saint actually chose you.

There were fifty of us there that day who took turns drawing a saint -- St. Catherine, St. Anne, St. Paul, St. Benedict, St. Mark. There were hundreds of saints in that basket, and St. Joseph chose me.

That was a pretty good feeling.

And then something extraordinary happened a few weeks ago, something which goes a long way in explaining why St. Joseph has always been so important to me. In my ongoing project of going through my Nonna's letters, I came across something she wrote shortly after I was born:

Ho sentito che avete battezzato Maria proprio il giorno 19 --
il giorno di S. Giuseppe.

Somehow I never knew, but I was baptized March 19, the Feast Day of St. Joseph.

*Black & White photo shows my Nonna and my mother ca. 1946


tiziana said...

Mi sono veramente commossa!!! Rivedere quella foto, le lettere e soprattutto la scrittura della nonna, mi hanno fatto battere il cuore.
Quante coincidenze...veramente S.Giuseppe è stato importante nella tua vita.
Il destino ha voluto che perfino tuo marito si chiamasse così!!!!

Ua said...

That is truly amazing! And the photo is wonderful!

Lisa said...

Oh, I love this, Bia. There are truly no accidents in the universe.