A friend of mine, Karen Moore, has been going through the process of selling her house in St. John’s. A while back, a few people had looked at the house, but there were no firm offers.
“I was helping my mom clean her basement to put things away after hurricane Igor,” Moore says. “That was the time I put my house up for sale. She has lots of figurines and statues and she said, ‘Oh here, take this, it’s St. Joseph. St. Joseph will help sell your house.’”
St. Joseph, the foster-father of Christ and husband of the Virgin Mary, is the patron saint of fathers and manual workers. He is especially beloved by families, expectant mothers, travellers, immigrants, craftsmen, engineers and working people in general. Perhaps in part due to his training as a carpenter, he is also highly regarded by house sellers and buyers.
According to legend, a group of Carmelite nuns wanted to purchase a piece of land for a new convent in the 16th century. Lacking the funds to buy the land, they decided to ask for some divine help from St. Joseph. They buried medals imprinted with his likeness in the ground of the desired property, and they managed to get the property at a price they could afford. Today, the practice has evolved into using tiny figurines of the saint instead of medals.
“I took this little two-inch, 30- to 40-year-old statue of St. Joseph and went to my house and put it feet side up, head side down, feet facing towards the house, I believe, and I buried it,” Moore says. “And the very next day, I had an offer.
“From what I understand, if you have St. Joseph pointing in the wrong direction, you will help sell someone else’s house, and not your own,” she says. “I knew nothing about it. My mom and dad knew all about it, and, of course, I went to the fabulous Google.”
The world wide web, of course, is full to its virtual brim with information, much of it contradictory. And what Google reveals to us about selling your house with the aid of St. Joseph is no different. Depending on which sources you believe, you need to dig a hole for the saint in your back yard. Or possibly the front yard. Live in a condo? Easy. Just stick the saint into a flowerpot. In Moore’s case, she had a downtown row house, with no front yard.
“But there was about a half-inch of dirt where weeds would come up in the summertime,” she says, “so I dug up the weeds, and stuck it in as far as I could.”
Most agree poor Joseph should be head down in the dirt, but then great controversy rages over whether his saintly feet should face east, towards the home, or point towards the seller’s new house. If you get confused, don’t worry about that, either. You can go online and buy a do-it-yourself St. Joseph kit, with your own figurine and handy instructions. One thing sources agree on is that when the property sells, you must dig up the statue, clean it, and carry it with you to your new home.
“When I buried it, I actually did have a house offer, and I kept it in the ground until I got the cheque in my hand,” says Moore. “I didn’t have a key to the house, so I just went over and dug it out of the weeds.”
Moore tells me this story with a bit of a laugh, but that doesn’t mean she doubts the saint’s effectiveness.
“We are going to be selling another house, because my fiancé and I are both selling each of our houses to get a new one,” she says.
“Soon enough, I will bury this St. Joseph in front of my fiancé’s house to help him sell that one, once we move into our new house.”
So if you, Telegram reader, are having problems moving your real estate in today’s market, a little bit of faith in St. Joseph certainly would not hurt.
If it works, let me know!
Dale Jarvis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.