It just happened that today in the Liturgy of the Church we celebrate de Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Spouse of Mary. And curiously, Father Palau has also something to say about him. In words filled with warmth and devotion, Francisco encourages his friends remaining in Barcelona to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph with intention of asking him to bring back his spouse, Mary, Our Lady of Virtues, at his side in the School and in the Church of St. Augustine where the School of Virtue held its sessions. Palau believed firmly that Mary, as obedient spouse, would follow the slightest insinuation of Joseph and this way they would be back together, and the School of Virtue would resume its activities. That was his dream, his hope, his expectations, and the trust he put in the protection of Saint Joseph.
I have to admit that personally I am not devoted to Saint Joseph. Actually, I am not a kind of a person devoted to saints. I believe in God, and very few other things. But recently I experience strongly what was also the experience of Saint Teresa and of Palau, namely, that St. Joseph is a great protector, and he can solve problems that seems impossible, humanly speaking. I think I have a little more faith in him from now on. The bonds that Joseph shared with Jesus and Mary on earth continue in heaven, and that’s why approaching Joseph is sometimes the best way to “make Jesus hear our prayers”. I don’t know, but I’m hoping that St. Joseph will continue protecting and defending the life of Jesus in me. In the moments of difficulties, when I encounter a wall that can be only miraculously jumped over, I implore the help of St. Joseph and I must admit that he knows to find his way around. So let us continue celebrating the feast of the spouse of the Queen of Virtues for he is the best intercessor.
To D. Agustín Mañá: Barcelona
Palma of Majorca, April 23, 1856
Esteemed friend: I received your last letter, and I am answering it today because of the benches and the other objects of the School.
No doubt this will create an embarrassment to the work and taking the reason from here, they could tell us that they could no longer keep them. Let us be ready and prepared for this precise event. It is always a disloyal conduct to destroy them and convert them for other purposes without at least consulting the ecclesiastical authority. I am glad that you have settled this problem good or bad amicably. In such cases, it is convenient it seems to declare that they are unpaid private property, lest they be freed from disentailment and then returned to its former use.
I was very pleased to know that they are taken care of in St. Augustine of St. Teresa and of St. Joseph. If my obligations were not withdrawn, what I would propose would have been to arrange the altar of St. Joseph in a manner that our Lady of Virtues will be together with her spouse. I thought of this many times and if the School will not resume its activities, an altar to our teacher could have been arranged, as an exterior sign of its transition in this said church, and with which the pupils would be able to continue its functions under another method. If the black torch that darkened the hemisphere has not been raised to the students’ lamps, I would have proposed it, but I think it is not the proper time. Nevertheless, I think that the idea that you have and have placed in the work has been inspired by heaven and as such it is a prelude to its restoration at its proper time. For several days this project that you will carry through pervaded my prayer. I will continue to pray to our celestial teacher to clarify this matter to us.
The School of Virtue, will it function again? And you, our Lady, the norm, model, mirror, foundation, and firm pillar of virtues, will you come back to Barcelona? This is the question that I do not forget in my prayers. Inasmuch as the disciples of Mary persist in its theme and do not concede by defeat or scatter, could the School be reorganized changing its names and adapting in its functions a method adopted to the days of its trials, time of stress and of storm? I spent some moments thinking on this question during the feast that this city had (is very devout to St. Joseph), the spouse of the Mother of God.
I will merge a plan of restoration adapted to the circumstances and if heaven inspires and approves it, I will communicate it to you. Meanwhile, continue celebrating the feast of the spouse of the Queen of Virtues. He will summon his wife to come back and share with him the peoples’ homage and our celestial teacher as an obedient spouse will obey to one slight insinuation of the good St. Joseph. Request St. Joseph for he will be the best intercessor. The two of them could be in one same altar: husband and wife, Mary and Joseph, and even at the center could fit in their son the Child Jesus. If the three could not be in the same piece, the Child Jesus could be placed at the first level, the mother at the second and the father on the third. And if they wished to receive us in the hall, we will venerate them together with our prayers and supplications in one same place. Is it not true? In the meantime, honor him alone. I do not remember if the Child is with the father or with the mother or whether he goes and comes from the one to the other using no boat.
I will write you again about this matter examined more in prayer than this one.
Greetings on my part to your sister. As a well deserving in charge of the sacristy and chambermaid of our princess, she will claim the same thanks that have been granted to her companions; if she does, I will send them to her. I am glad that the two of you are in good health. May God conserve you and dispose of this your affectionate friend and father,
Francisco Palau, Priest