St. Joseph and Jesus


Good Morning, I have a question about St. Joseph. I know not much is known about him, but I wondered if historians have ever equated his death with the age that Jesus started his ministry? I know I’ve read that no one knows why he was 30-ish and not younger, but could it of been that Joseph died and Mary needed him more? Just a thought, St. Joseph has always been a favorite saint of mine.


I have not read a lot of books specifically on St Joseph and St Alphonsus for instance makes no link with the happy death of this great saint with Jesus’ public ministry. This is from an old book by Rev. Father Joseph Anthony Patrignani on his Holy Death maybe you will find it as touching as I have (sorry in advance for not being able to directly answer your question)[FONT=“Book Antiqua”]“Pass to a new life,” might the angels say to him; "no one better than yourself has a right to expect the death of the just. Yes, your death shall be that of the just, because you shall yield up your soul in the arms of Him who is justice and sanctity, upon the bosom of Him who is the true Life… Happy Joseph ! more exalted in heaven than the ancient patriarch at the court of Pharaoh, you will be prime-minister at the court of the Most High, the dispenser of His treasures, the protector of the Church, the advocate and patron of all Christians.
"But if the angelic concerts so gladdened Joseph at his last hour, what shall we say of the far sweeter words which Jesus then addressed to him? St. Bernardine of Sienna, considering the happy death of Joseph, assisted by the two greatest denizens of heaven, Jesus and Mary, lacks terms to express the consolations, the sweetness, the light, the delicious languor, the flames of love, which filled that thrice-blessed soul. Jesus, during His infancy, had received so many caresses from that pure and tender father, that He undoubtedly wishes to return them with all the vivacity of filial love, at that hour so favorable to the marks of tenderness and compassion which a good son ordinarily lavishes upon a beloved father.
Jesus fully repaid, at that moment, all Joseph’s fatigue and labors by torrents of interior joy, all his anguish by sure pledges of confidence and peace, all his tears by heavenly consolations. With one hand He sustained the dying head, and, pressing with the other the same heart whereon He had so often reposed during His infancy, He pierced it with the arrows of His love. Mary, on her side, humbly thanked her spouse for his holy company, for his watchful care of her ; and her words were as so many darts of love which consummated his life.

Thus, some authors have not feared to say that love alone caused his death. However that may be, the Church compares his death sometimes to a peaceful slumber, like that of a child sweetly sleeping on its mothers breast ; sometimes to an aromatic torch, which consumes itself in burning, and which dies in exhaling the sweet odor which pervades its substance. We may envy the death of all the saints, because all die in the embrace of the Lord ; however, this embrace has no reality, it is merely a precious feeling of love. But Joseph died actually in the embrace of the Lord, since he expired in the very arms of Jesus. And if, as must be believed, he preserved his speech and consciousness to his last sigh, which could have been but a sigh of love, how otherwise could he have crowned such a life but by pronouncing the sacred names of Jesus and Mary? As for me, blessed Joseph, if I cannot, like you, expire in the presence of my Saviour and his Mother, may I at least, with my dying lips, join your beloved name with the sweet names of Jesus and Mary.
The love of the Son and the Mother for St. Joseph was not extinguished by his death. Both assisted in closing his eyes and paid him the last offices with mingled sighs and tears; for we should not consider it unbecoming in Jesus to weep on such an occasion, His affection for Joseph being much more lively than that which He afterwards conceived for His friend Lazarus.
Now, if the groans and tears which He lavished on Lazarus astonished the spectators and caused them to exclaim, “Behold how He loved him!” is it not much more reasonable that He should give those marks of affection to one who had been not only His friend but His guardian, His guide, His foster-father, in order that all those who came to visit the body of St. Joseph might also say of Jesus : " See how He loved him!" Such is the reasoning of a pious contemplative, John Eckius, in a homily upon St. Joseph. Gerson adds that Jesus Himself washed this virginal body, crossing his hands on his breast ; then blessed it, to preserve it from the corruption of the tomb, and ordered His angels to guard it till the moment when it should be laid in the tomb of his fathers, between the mount of Sion and that of Olives.
According to the common opinion, St. Joseph died about the age of sixty years, before the time our Lord quitted Nazareth to go and receive baptism from St. John the Baptist.[/FONT]


Hi Debraran,

What the gospels don’t tell us about St.Joseph is pious speculation. He was a an “upright man”, who obeyed God’s will without hesitation. In the Middle Ages, as we can see from many paintings, he was thought to be very old when he married Mary, so as to explain his respect for her virginity. I find that a bit “insulting” for Jesus’ adoptive father, as if this chosen person could not, with God’s grace, remain chaste even as a young man.

Since Jesus was born around 6 BC and began his public ministry around 29 AD, he would have been about 35 at that time and near forty when he was crucified. There is no mention of St. Joseph’s death, but he is never mentioned after he finds Jesus in the temple. So we must assume he died before Jesus went public.

Mary could have been as young as 12 when she married Joseph. If we put him at 20 (or even older; some speculate that this was his second marriage). He would have been 55 or older when Jesus began his ministry. This was considered already old in those days.

Why would Jesus have to “delay” his ministry to take care of Mary? If she needed care, I don’t see him leaving her helpless after beginning his ministry.

As a devotee of St. Joseph, I hope you have a chance, if you have not already had it, of visiting his greatest sanctuary, St.Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal. See



According to the Jewish historian Josephus Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his public ministry.

I couldn’t find a reference, but I remember being taught in a Bible study that although Jewish boys began their adulthood at age 12, they were not considered old enough to teach Scripture or preach before the age of 30 (perhaps someone else has that reference?).

We do not know when Joseph died, but it is assumed he died sometime before Jesus’ public ministry and after finding Jesus in the Temple (at age 12) because he is not mentioned again in the Gospels after that time.

As to Jesus caring for his mother, he would have worked as a carpenter until he began his public ministry. Jesus’ cousins would have looked after her when she was not accompanying him on his preaching journeys. We know this because of the culture of the times and because she is mentioned as being with his cousins in the Gospels.

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