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Puerto Rico's Wooden Saints: Images of  
Saint Joseph
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Carlos Santiago

Genaro Rivera
 Toste- Mediavilla Collection

Luis Nieves Román
David Morales
Collection

 

Who was Saint Joseph?
Joseph was a "just man”  said to be elected by God to be Jesus' adoptive father and husband of the Virgin Mother. The cult of Joseph has forcefully attracted the heart of the working classes. Due to his occupation of carpenter he is considered the patron saint of the worker. The Catholic Church has also declared him protector against Doubt.
   In Puerto Rico, Saint Joseph is considered the patron saint of carpenters and of the dying. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the Puerto Rican towns of Aibonito, Camuy, Gurabo, Lares, Luquillo and Peñuelas
 
How is Saint Joseph represented in the Puerto Rican tradition of wooden saint carving?
Saint Joseph is principally represented as a devotional figure that is relatively young, with long hair and beard, dressed in a tunic, hold the Child Jesus and holding a flowering cane or staff. The tradition tells that while Joseph was among the chiefs of the Twelve Families when they were choosing a husband for Mary, his dry cane/staff burst into flower. The event was said to proclaim God's wish that Joseph be chosen as Mary's husband.

(text partially derived from notes by Doreen M. Colón)