St. Joseph: Our Patron Saint of a Happy & Holy Death

Intriguing, hidden, and silent, St. Joseph’s role in salvific history has been analyzed and philosophized for millennia. Also known as Terror of Demons, Light of Patriarchs, and Mirror of Patience, St. Joseph remains a powerful intercessor for many. Often invoked by those desperate to find gainful employment or patrons who find it impossible to sell their homes, St. Joseph can be much more for us—a friend, a mentor. 

His silence reminds us to listen more, to allow God to move in us instead of reacting impulsively, to quiet our emotions before offering a wise answer, and to walk humbly each day in our spiritual journey.

This humility, when we seek to imitate it as St. Joseph surely did, becomes a hallmark to a happy death. His exemplary virtue brings us back from confusion, discord, and the restlessness we often find ourselves wallowing in. Here are some ways we can invoke his prayers and guidance as we face the end of our days on earth.

St. Joseph Waited for God’s Guidance and Promptly Followed It

Consider the Flight to Egypt: Mary slept soundly next to St. Joseph, cradling the Infant Jesus in her arms. It was night, and silence enveloped them. Suddenly, St. Joseph was started awake by a dream, in which St. Gabriel announced an urgent message: “Take the child immediately to Egypt!” 

It had been a long stretch of their sojourn to Bethlehem. The Holy Family knew during that time that they, even as pilgrims, could not rush God’s plan for them. So they waited for direction and never questioned the inopportune moment of quietly slipping away into the night.

When we ponder our mortality, we tend to bypass it out of fear. We can pray to St. Joseph to help us wait patiently through our earthly sufferings and to offer them back to God in reparation for our sins. This is the slow road to sanctity.

How hasty am I to find answers to my questions or prayers? How can St. Joseph help me to wait patiently for God’s perfect timing?

St. Joseph Was Devoted to Mary and Jesus.

Imitation of St. Joseph’s fidelity to Our Lady and Jesus is a sure path to Heaven for us. When our hearts are fixed on eternity, it is not difficult to imagine the end of our earthly existence. Those who are tormented terribly in their final days would do well to receive the consolation from saints and angels. 

Our Lady has promised those who love her and are faithful to her Son will not be neglected at the hour of death. St. Joseph remained at their side and cared for them, even as he grew infirm and aged. 

When we age, too, we might forget about Heaven, because pain distracts us from prayer and suffering with patience. Let us ask St. Joseph, then, to come to our aid as our bodies and minds begin to fail us, that we remain faithful to God.

In what ways can I ask St. Joseph to increase my devotion to the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary?

St. Joseph Was Patient, Meek, Prudent, and Pure

St. Joseph was patient – He never made decisions without clear direction from God. Even as God gave him signs in dreams and visions, he did not doubt God’s voice. Patience stems from a keen awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit in and around us. Let us pay attention to the subtle cues from God every day.

St. Joseph was meek – He was receptive, sensitive, and vulnerable. Through these qualities, he exhibited emotional strength and spiritual stamina. We often equate meekness with weakness of spirit, but there is a reason it is mentioned in the Beatitudes. A heart that is closed to love is one that is not meek, but it takes radical trust to expose oneself entirely to the unknown. 

St. Joseph was prudent – He took time to deliberate before making a decision that would affect not only his immediate family, but all of us! I wonder if he knew the weight of his authority, if he understood the implications of keeping Jesus safe so that He could save souls to the end of time?

St. Joseph was pure – This includes chastity and modesty, yes, but also purity of heart. Those who are pure of heart are unpretentious and empty of self. This allows room for the Holy Spirit to work in them. Emptiness of self is likely one of the most difficult poverties we will face as we age and face death, but St. Joseph can be the beacon to direct us Heavenward.

How can I model St. Joseph in patience, meekness, prudence, and purity?

Death can be terrifying, but it has the potential to be beautiful, too. It can leave us feeling unsettled, or we can be immersed in the peace that surpasses all human understanding. We have the power to choose how we will live today – for ourselves or for God? The road to a holy death is paved with countless crossroads and is covered in fog.

St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death, pray for us!

You can find the Litany to St. Joseph here.  

Photo by Anna Hecker on Unsplash


JEANNIE EWING is a Catholic spirituality writer and national inspirational speaker. Among her eight books, From Grief to Grace: The Journey from Tragedy to Triumph, is her most popular. She is a frequent guest on podcasts, radio shows, and has appeared on EWTN, CatholicTV, and ShalomWorld. Her deepest desire is to accompany those who suffer and are lonely. Visit her website at for more information.

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