For many it would have seemed a happy coincidence, but for me it was an answer to a desperate prayer. It happened on the break day midway through the IRF (Institute for Religious Formation) 30 Day Retreat held in Sedalia, CO, at which I was one of the retreat directors. A native of Kansas, I was eager to take a short trip into the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, and then meet friends in Denver for an afternoon lunch and visit before returning to continue the retreat.
Stopping at a close-by gas station, I asked the locals for some directions. Suggesting I drive over the pass to Georgetown – a quaint mountain town with interesting gift shops and a cute ice cream parlor – they gave me a map and I set out. The road was clear as I began the climb, but about halfway up the slope it began to snow – at first a flurry, gradually growing into a full-fledged blizzard as I continued the ascent. Just as I was beginning to doubt if I should keep going, a snowplow appeared in front of me, clearing the way. As I reached the top of the pass, it pulled aside, and I started down the other side of the mountain.
Just a little after I had begun the descent, my car slid out of my control skidding sideways down the mountain, then plummeting nose first into a snowbank on the left side of the road. Stuck! I tried backing out, rocking, then backing – praying and trying again. Really stuck! With only a Spring jacket, no gloves, and armed with a windshield scraper I tried digging the snow from around the tires, and tried again and again – all the while praying loud to the angels, to God, to Jesus, to Mary, all seeming to no avail. Getting back into the car to thaw out my frozen fingers, I shouted in desperation: “St. Joseph, you protected Mary and Jesus on their flight to Egypt, please help me! I don’t believe God wants me to die up here!”
At that moment, a beat-up looking pickup drove up, then a strapping young man walked toward me saying: “Looks like you need some help. Put her in reverse and I’ll get you out of here.” It took just a minute and I was free, grateful, and cautiously making my way down to Georgetown with him following me like a protector. When I turned a bend about halfway down, I noticed that he had disappeared though I had seen no place a car or truck could turn around. At first concerned for his safety, I then wondered: was that St. Joseph? or a young man acting in the spirit of St. Joseph? an angel? I will never know. I did spend a few minutes in Georgetown, on to Denver to enjoy time with my friends, then back to finish the retreat.
There must be many St. Joseph stories – where someone unassuming and humbly helpful simply appears when a person is desperate or in need, lends a hand, then disappears without waiting to be thanked or rewarded by the person left grateful and relieved. Maybe you are the “St. Joseph” – though you’d never think of yourself that way! What is your St. Joseph story?
Today as we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, it’s a good day to remember with gratitude all those who are that steady, ready to help presence in our lives and in our communities. It’s a good day to do random acts of kindness in the spirit of St. Joseph. It’s just another way to quietly but persistently be peace, build peace, preach peace.
Who knows – someone like me might be telling or writing a story about what you did to help them in a time of need.
11 responses to “My/Your St. Joseph Story”
You got lots of comments on your story, Amy. Many people can relate to it. Thanks for sharing it.
What a beautiful sharing Sr. Amy, thank you. I am going to forward your article to some of my Associates of St. Joseph friends in Alaska. Peace! Peg
Amy, How great people are, specially when we most need them! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Amy……a beautiful story and experience for you
Hi Sister Amy, I enjoyed your story. Love St. Joseph, my grandfather named Joseph donated our St. Joseph altar,in my childhood parish.
Bunny O’Brien, associate
What an experience! Thanks for sharing.
What a powerful story, Amy! Thanks so much for sharing it, and reminding us of ways we can follow the ways of St. Joseph!
Wonderful St. Joseph Story, Amy!
Thanks for sharing.
Amy,This is a marvelous story of faith. St. Joseph is my patron and I just realized I really do not call on him very much. Do you suppose he could help me maneuver around technology I get so stuck on??
What a wonderful story, Sr. Amy! Thanks for sharing it.
Amy, what a powerful story on this feast of St. Joseph. I loved it. Thanks for sharing it with us!