St. Joseph’s Feast Day: A novena a day keeps the job search at bay

When John and I met, we had jobs that were more than 100 miles—and a two-hour drive—apart. So after we became engaged, we both started job hunting.

A friend or family member must have mentioned that St. Joseph was the patron of workers, so I began saying a daily novena to him.

“It has never been known to fail,” it said on the holy card I used each day. I wasn’t sure about that, but it was worth a try.

Soon enough—sooner than I had hoped, in fact—I landed a new job closer to John’s. Once we were married, we moved into an apartment on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. And, lovely as that area is to visit, it was not a place where we saw ourselves putting down roots. Our town had a courthouse, a pizza place, a Catholic church, and a full-service gas station.

I often told people it was a great place to begin our married life because there was nothing to do except focus on our marriage—and my cooking skills.

So, as I learned how to burn grilled cheese, my novena continued.

Then one day John was offered a new job. It seemed like a great opportunity, but it would require moving farther than we had thought we would go. He accepted the job, and we made our plans. We even put an offer on a house.

Something didn’t feel quite right, but we were so eager to leave town, we didn’t say so out loud.

Then, one morning when my car wouldn’t start, we stood next to the car arguing.

Suddenly it hit me.

“This isn’t about the car,” I said. “This is about the job.”

We put on the brakes, changed our plans, and stayed where we were. The dead battery turned out to be a blessing.

Months later St. Joseph came through yet again with a job that was a better fit for John. At long last, we were able to move across the Bay Bridge. I found a wonderful job that offered me a more creative outlet for writing. And, when I wasn’t even looking for a job, that job led to my current job, which is a dream job for any writer—and certainly for me.

If you’ve lost track of who had which job when, so have I. During our eight years of marriage, John and I have each had three jobs—not counting the job I had when we met. That seems like more than our fair share.

I haven’t said that novena to St. Joseph in a while, but for many years it was part of my daily routine. And because he heard from me each morning, he must have realized fairly quickly that I wasn’t just going to talk with him about job opportunities. I told him how much we wanted to be parents and a whole list of other concerns.

There’s something about St. Joseph that makes him a really good listener. After all, he always seems to be strong and supportive and silent as he stands alongside the Blessed Mother.

Today, in honor of St. Joseph’s Feast Day, we ate spaghetti and talked with the boys about Jesus’ foster father. St. Joseph doesn’t seem to have a special patronage toward adoptive families—not that I can find, anyway—but I’m pretty sure he’s interceded for us more than a few times along the way.

Thank you, St. Joseph.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.