Saint Joseph was a craftsman with an enormously important destiny. Appearing first in the Gospels of Matthey and Luke, the descendant of King David was engaged to a young virgin girl named Mary when he found out she was pregnant. He fully intended to break off the marriage, until an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid, for his beloved was pregnant with none other than the Son of God. Joseph did indeed marry Mary.
When a decree of the Roman Emperor Augustus required that Joseph return to his hometown of Bethlehem to register for a Roman census, Mary went with him. Finding no room at a local inn, she gave birth to her son in a stable, wrapping him in swaddling clothes and laying him in a manger. Some time later, after a premonition that King Herod was planning to murder the baby Jesus, the Holy Family escaped, eventually settling in Nazareth.
Joseph is last seen in the Gospels when he and Mary find their 12-year-old son, Jesus, in the Temple, where he speaks to them of his father, the Lord God. Mary is depicted as a widow for the rest of her son's ministry. He does not appear to take charge of Jesus' body after his Crucifixion, as custom suggests, and Mary's continuing caregiver is instead John the Apostle. Later, in apocryphal texts, it is suggested that he died at age 111, having never consummated his marriage with Mary, who remained a virgin her entire time on Earth.
In 1870, Joseph was named the Patron Saint of the Universal Church and is considered the model of the pious believer.
Quick Facts about Saint Joseph
Feast Day: March 19, May 1
Best known for: Being the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and devoted foster father of Jesus Christ.
Born: c. 90 BC (apocryphal)
Died: July 20, AD 18 (apocryphal)