Okay. I TOLD you here and here about how St. Joseph has helped me sell houses – within 24 hours of burying the statue in my favorite place in the yard. Now, it seems that others agree with me.

Joseph, the carpenter husband of the Virgin Mary, is the patron saint of laborers and house hunters, among others. The belief that St. Joseph aids home sellers traces back to St. Teresa of Avila, a nun in the 16th century who buried a medal of the saint and prayed to him to help get land for convents. The ritual seemed to work, and the practice, or variations of it, spread.

The modern tradition in the United States dates back at least four decades and is believed to have first gained in popularity on the heavily Catholic East Coast.

“In times of crisis, people try anything,” said the Rev. Harvey Egan, a professor in Boston Colleges theology department. “Many people turn to God or they turn to the saints or they turn to religion in times of crisis. It shouldn’t be like that, but that’s the way it is.”

Phil Cates, whose StJosephStatue.com of Modesto, Calif., offers 4- and 8-inch white statues, said he expects his business to grow 200 percent to 250 percent this year over 2005. Roman Inc. of Addison, Ill., which sells four styles to stores, has seen its sales increase 33 percent this year, chief executive Dan Loughman said.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith of Boston, which runs a small store downtown, reported no trouble getting rid of its monthly supply of 100 statues or more.

“It’s going gangbusters now,” Loughman said. “I think it’s just tough times in the real estate market that’s driving them mostly.”

Demand isn’t limited to Catholic homeowners or real estate agents.
“We look at St. Joseph as really a nondenominational saint,” Cates said. “I think that what St. Joseph is about is about wakening the hopefulness in people. That hopefulness can lead to expectations, can instill confidence. We all know that confidence has led to miracles throughout the centuries.”

John Stastny of Denton, Texas, said his Catholic faith — and faith in the St. Joseph ritual — helped him sell two homes in Colorado. He is now trying to sell his current home without a real estate agent and expects his old, white St. Joseph statue to come through again.

“I think it helps me build my confidence that I can do it, and I know I can,” he said. “If you have faith in anything, you can accomplish quite a bit.”

Homeowner Diana Grammont is not Catholic but decided to give St. Joseph a try after her friend sold a home within a week of following the ritual. Grammont and her husband buried a painted, china statue upside down in the front yard of their Lexington home, which has been on the market since the summer began.

“Who knows what will come of it? It’s worth a try,” she said. “We’re just both kind of open to possibility.”

We’ll be selling RT’s cabin soon, and you can be sure my so-far-100%-lucky St. Joseph statue will be put to use again.

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3 Responses to “Saint Joseph to the Rescue”

  1. Joan Says:

    okay. Details? Do you bury it in the yard of the house you want to sell? Do you dig it up after the house sells? Our house has been on the market for over 6 months, and I am tired of paying two sets of bills every month.

  2. carol Says:

    Joan, find a Catholic bookstore. They’ll have a St. Joseph kit that has a statue, a prayer, and directions. Find your favorite place in the yard of the house you want to sell. Dig a hole and bury the statue upside down. Pray the prayer (or make up your own about selling the house). Then wait. When the house sells, wait until the last day, and then dig up the statue and put it in a “place of honor” in your new house. I don’t “REALLY” believe it – but I’ve sold four houses in a snap over the past few years. I hope it works for RT’s house as well.

    I actually had a friend who asked me to be with her when she buried her statue and prayed. I think she thought my good luck might rub off on her – and she did sell her house fairly quickly.

  3. Karen Fisher Says:

    After reading the history that St. Teresa burried a medal, and now modern times — a statue. I decided that the form of his image most likely doesn’t matter. The power is in the act, belief and prayer.

    SO — I burried a laminated photo to Saint Joseph! No, not a statue, or a medal, a piece of ordinary paper and a copy of him ink-jetted on, then laminated. I burried him feet up and the print side facing the house — and right next to the real-estate for sale sign.

    We said the Saint Joseph prayer that can be found on Catholic websites and used on Saint Joseph say in March. (There is a place to ask for a kind favor in the prayer.)

    I just did this yesterday with my daughter by my side. My home has been on the market 45 days and its now December — NOT A GOOD TIME TO SELL! But I have faith.

    What do I plan to do with the laminated Saint Joseph once my house sells? Well, I did put him in a ziplock baggie and I plan to punch a hole in the top of the laminate and hang him on my Christmas tree… year after year as the guardian of our happy home!

    *I’d like to see you do THAT with a statue*.



    From Carol:  Now THAT is a creative idea!  Let me know what happens!

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