YESTERDAY, on the Feast of Saint Joseph, I visited Saint Joseph Church in Clayton, Missouri. This century-old church building serves the oldest parish in central Saint Louis County, dating from 1842. Built atop the highest hill in once-rural Clayton, this church now has tall office buildings as neighbors. Once the parish of French pioneers and their descendants and Irish immigrants, this now-urban parish is noted, among other things, for having well-attended weekday noon Masses and devotions, along with daily confession.
Here are some photos of statues and images of Saint Joseph, foster-father of Our Lord and patron of the Universal Church.
This bronze statue of Saint Joseph and the Christ child was cast in 2011, by Ivo Demetz.
The original Greek texts of the Gospels tell us that Saint Joseph was a τέκτων (or tekton), and he trained his adopted son Jesus in the same trade. Tekton is a general term for craftsman or builder, and from tekton we get our words ’technology’ and ‘architecture.’ However, Saint Justin Martyr tells us Jesus made yokes and plows, and the early tradition says that Joseph specifically was a carpenter.
This charming statue was carved from linden wood by the Demetz Art Studio, in Ortisei, Italy.
The label reads:
“Saint Joseph the Carpenter” print
by Siegfried Reinhardt (1925-1984)
Prolific artist + teacher based
at Wash U from 1955-1970
A Saint Joseph’s Day poster from 1994.
There are more depictions of Joseph in this church, including many of the stained glass windows, such as this one of the Presentation:
While at the church, I got a copy of the book, “The Cross Planted in Clayton: A Centennial History of St. Joseph Catholic Church,” a new book, by the Rev. Msgr. John B. Shamleffer, JCL, which covers the history of the parish and architecture of the church. This book is available for sale at the churches rectory: 106 North Meramec Avenue, Clayton, Missouri 63105, at a cost of $35. I contributed a number of photographs for this book.
Photos of this church are also found in the book Clayton Missouri: An Urban Story, which you can purchase from Amazon here: