On the 19th March, the Feast of St. Joseph, Ellie Stephens, an A level art student from St. Ambrose Barlow School in Swinton came to Caritas with her family and parish priests to present a special gift of her portrait of St. Joseph. The image is a fascinating portrayal of this humble saint that we know so little about even though he was the husband of Mary and the foster parent of Jesus.
Receiving the gift at a simple unveiling service in the St. Joseph Chapel of the Cathedral, Mark Wiggin, Director Caritas said, “Joseph was a just man who took his God given responsibilities to protect Jesus very seriously especially when it meant standing up for Mary who was pregnant out of marriage. This decision to protect Mary and the unborn Jesus was in my opinion the decision of a wise man whose wisdom comes with age and maturity. Your portrait of Joseph the man rather than Joseph the saint captures this brilliantly”.
Ellie Stephens decided to paint and gift the portrait after listening to all the amazing work Caritas does for in the community and she wanted to give something back. Caritas services all have safeguarding and protection of vulnerable people at their heart. Today our work with Refugee Response, our Foster Care service, Adoption Support service and our Young Parents Homes especially for young mothers and their babies have all evolved out of a sense of Christian service to the most vulnerable, to those who need of protection and safeguarding. Many of the Caritas services are also named after St. Joseph including St. Joseph’s Mission to Deaf People and St. Joseph’s Welfare Service to Older People as well as the St. Joseph’s Penny – a Lenten collection that goes back to 1904.
Thanking Ellie for this wonderful gift Mark Wiggin concluded, “The portrait of Joseph will be a permanent reminder to all of us here in Caritas to serve with love, courage and tenderness all who are in need”.