Solemnity of St. Joseph

19 March 2024

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, to whom Maria Antonia Paris was very devoted.

On September 2, 1875, María Antonia and some sisters arrived in Carcagente, one of the most picturesque villages in the fertile Valencian orchards of the last century. The people came out to greet them with the cordiality of this land. Mr. José Navarro had prepared temporary accommodation for them in the old convent of San Francisco, headquarters of the Colegio San Luis since the confiscation. In the same month, the first stone of the new house was laid, in the presence of Cardinal Barrio, Archbishop of Valencia.

At first, the enthusiasm for the work was very great, with great collaboration from the neighbors. The Cardinal had granted indulgences to the faithful who worked on the works of the convent free of charge, and they were even allowed to work on Sundays. As time went by, enthusiasm waned and contributions were lower, despite the fact that the most committed came to ask door-to-door to cover expenses. The economy of the house, of course, was also meagre.

The Chronicles of the community recount a miraculous intervention of St. Joseph, to whom Maria Antonia was very devoted: … It had been fifteen days since the masons had been paid, and Don Agustín García came saying that the work had to be stopped… While this gentleman was talking to our Mother Antonia and Mother Gertrude… They knocked on the turnstile and it was Mother Pilar, and after greeting and asking who, they only answered her politely in the voice of a grave gentleman: “Have the goodness to give this sack to Mother Maria Antonia…” And when we saw Mother Pilar enter, our Mother Antonia said, St. Joseph brings it to us… and they saw with astonishment that it was full of gold coins… No matter how much effort was taken, no one could give an account of who this gentleman was, and only our Mother Antonia said that it was St. Joseph. And it was possible to follow the work with great admiration from all… (Memories of Sister Joaquina of St. Barnabas, 1885).

During these days, the text “María Antonia París, friend and companion in the journey” is being distributed.