Joseph was a person of hope. He trusted in God, even in times of uncertainty and suffering, and he has been consoled by the presence of Jesus, the Son of God and his foster son; and Mary, his wife, and Mother of Our Lord. He shared his life, feelings, his whole being with them; they were the source of his strength, faith and courage. Jesus and Mary were with St. Joseph at the hour of his death.
Saint Louis Guanella, priest (1842 – 1915), was deeply devoted to St. Joseph and expressed an unconditional trust in his intercession.
Under the protection of Pope St. Pius X, who sponsored his project, Fr. Guanella began in 1909 to build a church in Rome, named for St. Joseph and dedicated on March 19, 1912. Today it is a Minor Basilica.
When the construction was complete, he confided to St. Pius X his desire to establish an association of devotees to St. Joseph, who pray each day for his intercession for the benefit of the suffering and dying. “Your idea has been inspired by God,” said the Pope. “We ourselves wanted to suggest it to you. We will be the first to be enrolled in this great Crusade of prayer.”
Canonically recognized on February 12, 1914, the Pious Union of St. Joseph for the Salvation of the Dying was declared a “Primary Confraternity” by Pope St. Pius X. wrote: “We desire to make known how much we appreciate this most praiseworthy Association and we wish our name to be the first inscribed among the members of the same, exhorting all our dear Brothers in the priesthood not to forget the dying each day in the Divine Sacrifice. We, likewise, exhort all the faithful, and especially Religious, to accustom themselves to raise up special prayers to God and to St. Joseph in favor of the dying”
Fr. Guanella felt deeply, “there is a need to live well, but there is even a greater need to die well. A peaceful death is everything, especially today when people value only material things and earthly enjoyments, rejecting eternal values.”