I spent nearly half my life in Manassas, and now I’m moving.
Enter St. Joseph.
I told a friend from church I was clearing out decades of clutter in the house, and going about, praying in each room so that the next family will be happy here and make great memories, like we have.
That’s when she gave me a colorful plastic St. Joseph – the patron saint of home and hearth – to bury in my yard. Not a little necklace medallion; a statue, big as my palm. She instructed me to bury it upside down, with his arms pointing toward the street.
Well, you know me. I had to look this one up on the Internet. Turns out, there is quite a tradition surrounding the burial of these domestic Joes. The custom varies widely, but agrees on two things; one, that he’s supposed to help you sell your house fast, and two, you have to bury him upside down “so he’ll try harder to right himself and get home.”
Some Internet sources advised burying him in the backyard; others, in the front. We decided to take a trowel out to the street and dig a hole close to the “Coming Soon!” realtor’s sale sign. Once he had dug a hole about a foot deep, my husband dropped St. Joseph in, upside down, his arms outstretched to the street, and covered him up with the same rich, orangish soil.
Tradition decrees we dig the statue up and take it with us to the new house in North Carolina. There, we should place the statue in a place of honor, to thank him.
Yet even my church friend acknowledged finding a St. Joseph still buried in her yard. She left him undisturbed. I want to leave St. Joseph here. I like knowing that he’ll protect the new family as they move in.
And that I do believe: That somewhere out there is the new family, waiting for us to leave so they can inhabit this house. They’re just waiting for St. Joseph to point the way.