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March 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Sfingi di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph Cream Puffs) were the only link I had to my Catholic faith for many years.
Growing up Italian in New York City, the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, was as important to us as St. Patrick’s Day is to the Irish. Although my siblings and I were brought up Catholic, our holiday traditions were mostly focused on food, rather than religion
Sfingi di San Giuseppe is what I remember most about St. Joseph’s Day. These doughy pastries filled with creamy custard, chocolate pudding, or cannoli cream are amazingly delicious, with melt-in-your mouth explosions of flavor.
I left New York and was away from the Catholic Church for many years, but every St. Joseph’s Day would find me on a mission to track down Sfingi di San Giuseppe in California, and, more recently, Florida. Now I know right where to go, a bakery in Port St. Lucie, not far from my brother’s home. It’s the real thing.
Several years ago I was blessed to begin working at Priests for Life as the executive manager. I was practicing my faith as a non-denominational Christian when two years ago I felt Jesus tugging at my heart to return to the Catholic Church.
What do you do when Jesus tugs at your heart? You listen!
I returned to the Catholic Church during Lent of 2019, and my faith has been enriched in ways I never thought possible.
When Pope Francis proclaimed December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021, as the “Year of St. Joseph,” I felt a strong desire to get to know this amazing saint whom I only knew as the namesake of a wonderful pastry.
I began by asking St. Joseph to join me in prayer to his stepson Jesus along with our Blessed Mother Mary. These prayers for my children, my husband, and my siblings were so strong and powerful. I realized that St. Joseph and Mary were troubled by many things as Jesus was growing up, and so could easily relate to my feelings as a mother, wife and sister. They knew exactly how to pray to Jesus on my behalf.
Working at Priests for Life, returning to my Catholic faith, and getting to know St. Joseph has made this Year of St. Joseph so very special to me.
While St. Joseph has no dialogue in the Bible (he is known as the silent saint) his actions speak much louder than words ever could. We know he was faithful to God. When Joseph found out Mary was going to have a baby, he patiently followed God’s plan for his family. St. Joseph is the best role model for fathers. He stood by and continued to love and support Mary during her pregnancy, even though he wasn’t the biological father of Jesus. He raised Jesus as his own, educated him in the faith and taught him to be a carpenter.
St. Joseph is the perfect saint for the pro-life movement because he was so willing to accept God’s plan and become Jesus’ step-father. He is a lasting reminder to us all of the importance of fatherhood and of a father’s crucial role as the head of the household.
St. Joseph’s Day this year will be a true blessing to me as I can finally fully combine my Italian heritage, my Catholic faith, and my pro-life mission into one celebration of our spiritual father, St. Joseph. I may even have Sfingi di San Giuseppe to celebrate.
Theresa Watson is the Executive Manager at Priests for Life.