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The Unexpected Pilot

Thomas Perrot
Two religious of the Order of St. Francis were sailing on the Sea of Flanders. All at once there arose a tempest so furious that the vessel was swallowed up, with all on board numbering more than 300 persons.


A disastrous shipwreck

The two Franciscan monks were so fortunate as to get hold of a fragment of the wreck, to which they clung. For three days and three nights they were exposed to the fury of wind and waves.

What a fearful situation! Their strength began to fail and at last they could scarcely keep their hold on the planks of safety. At this moment they began to invoke St. Joseph, for whom they had always had a particular devotion.

On that third day, a strong and dignified man with white hair and a beard appeared before them. He deigned to take his place in their rough craft and to unite his efforts with theirs, while sharing their danger.

st joseph the pilot

St. Joseph directs the shipwrecks to a secure shore

He graciously saluted them, and that very salute seems to revive their failing courage and give them new strength. Very soon he took the direction of their singular craft, and brought them safe and sound to shore.

The good religious first thanked Heaven for having saved them; then, turning to the unknown pilot, they begged him to tell them his name.

"I am Joseph," he replied. "I am he whose heart was overwhelmed with seven joys and torn by seven swords of sorrow. My protection is sure to all those who shall make a remembrance of them on earth. Profit by this advice, and make others do so likewise.”

He then disappeared, leaving the monks full of joy and gratitude.

The Sorrows of St. Joseph

1. His doubts about the Virgin Mary.
2. His pain at the lowly poverty of Jesus' birthplace.
3. Watching the circumcision, the first blood of Christ spilt for us.
4. Hearing the prophetic message of Simeon.
5. Taking the Holy Family into exile in Egypt.
6. The arduous trip back from Egypt.
7. The loss of Jesus for three days.

The Joys of St. Joseph

1. The Angel's message of the mystery of Christ's Incarnation.
2. The Savior's birth.
3. The honor of naming Jesus.
4. Hearing Simeon foretell Jesus as the light to Gentiles & glory of His people.
5. Seeing the idols of Egypt fall before the Infant Jesus.
6. The holy life lived with Jesus and Mary.
7. Finding Jesus in the Temple after three days of loss.


The joy and sorrow of St. Joseph
at hearing Simeon's prophecy

Adapted from Legends of St. Joseph,
NY:D & J Sadlier, 1872

Posted May 1, 2021

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