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The White Cord Of St. Joseph: What You Should Know About This Unique Devotional

Jun 21, 2018 By Ashley Osmera | 11 Comments

More and more people are coming to know and love the Sleeping St. Joseph devotion, and still more know about the popular St. Joseph Home Sale Kit tradition when they need to sell a house.

But have you heard of St. Joseph’s cord?

The Miraculous History of the Cord

Jan van Helmont - Portrait of the Black Canon Augustinian Nuns in Antwerp

This beautiful devotion began almost 400 years ago in the small town of Antwerp, Belgium. An Augustinian nun named Sr. Elizabeth was suffering from a mysterious and painful illness; doctors admitted that it would most likely lead to her death. Having a special devotion to St. Joseph, she asked that a cord be blessed in his honor. She wrapped this cord around her waist. A few days later, her pain disappeared while she was praying for St. Joseph’s intercession. Multiple doctors—including a Protestant doctor—accessed her case and proclaimed her cure to be miraculous.

Almost 200 years later, the miracle was publicized—particularly in Verona, Italy—and in March of 1842, this devotional cord was adopted by a hospital in Verona and distributed to its patients. On September 19, 1859, the devotion of St. Joseph’s cord was officially adopted; a blessing formula created; indulgences added by Pope Pius IX; and widespread private use permitted.

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The White Cord of St Joseph is piously used not only as a remedy against physical ailments, but as a support in living the virtues of chastity and purity of heart.

Graces Associated with the Cord

There are five primary graces attached to the wearing of the cord and the pious recitation of the corresponding prayers:

  1. St. Joseph's special protection
  2. Purity of soul
  3. The grace of chastity
  4. Final perseverance
  5. Particular assistance at the hour of death

Using the Devotional

The following is recommended for this devotional:

The Cord of St. Joseph should be of thread or cotton, ending at one extremity in seven knots, indicative of the Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph. It is worn as a girdle for purity or chastity and humility, and around the shoulders for obedience. It ought to be blessed by a priest with the faculties for this blessing. Pius IX approved a special formula for the blessing of the cord of St. Joseph.

The daily commitments associated with the devotion are to pray seven Glory Be's along with a prayer to St. Joseph for Purity:

O GUARDIAN of Virgins and holy Father St. Joseph,

into whose faithful keeping were entrusted

Christ Jesus, Innocence Itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins,

I pray and beseech thee by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary, that,

being preserved from all uncleanness,

I may with spotless mind, pure heart and chaste body,

ever serve Jesus and Mary most chastely all the days of my life.

Amen.

We are also encouraged to meditate on St. Joseph’s Seven Joys and Sorrows, praying an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be after each Joy and Sorrow.

Read more: Hidden Treasures in the Life of St. Joseph: Meditating on His 7 Sorrows and Joys

Here are a few short, beautiful petitions found in the pamphlet that traditionally accompanies the cord:

St. Joseph, model of those who love the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us.

St. Joseph, foster father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the spouse of Mary, pray for us.

Grant O holy Joseph, that, ever under your protection, we may pass our lives without sin. Amen.

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Commentary by

Ashley Osmera Ashley Osmera

Ashley grew up in Charlotte, NC and found her way back there in adulthood. She graduated from Belmont Abbey College with a degree in Psychology, and hopes to pursue a degree in Counseling at the graduate level. Ashley enjoys reading, being outdoors, and all of the fine arts, including writing, art, theatre, ballroom dance, and music. Her favorite devotion is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and she also has a newfound love for St. John Paul II and Mary Undoer of Knots. Ashley has written digital content for a variety of religious and secular institutions.

Read More from Ashley Osmera