I got a new listing this week. It is another “seasoned seller.” He has been trying to sell his house for over two years. He is an older guy who just wants to move closer to his kids. There have been other agents, other offers, and other disappointments. He listened to the experts, dropped his price when told, fixed his porch when told and even thought about holding a mortgage. He is a good guy, keeps his house immaculate, disappears when there is a showing, eats his veggies and loves his grand kids. But the house sits on the market.
Well he is trying a new tactic. He is getting the Lord on his side. Some friends advised him that the thing he needed to do was to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the front yard, and a sale would surely be forthcoming. Being as how I’m barely Catholic, this was news to me, so I looked it up online, which is pretty much how I start anything these days.
St. Joseph refers to Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus. If you will remember, he had a lot of housing issues. There was no room in the inn, so they took up residence in a stable. Then, they fled to Egypt, then they returned, but this time to blend into the quiet of Nazareth. So if you think about it, he should be plenty sympathetic to people with housing issues.
I researched online, and found that most authorities on this subject say that you should bury your statue of Joseph upside down in the front yard, with him facing your house, and in close proximity to the For Sale sign. If he faces the street, then the house across the street may sell instead of yours. However, if you have neighbors you don’t like, you might try burying a statue of St. Joseph upside down pointing toward their house, so that maybe St. Joseph will get them packing instead.
The origin of this practice is a little murky. Some say it dates back to the Middle Ages where a group of nuns buried a St. Joseph medal in order to procure some land for a convent. Others say it was much later, where in the mid 1800’s a priest in Montreal used a similar technique in his quest for an oratory. Apparently the mid ’90s is when it became all the rage, and now, happily for home sellers, kits containing small, easy-to-bury statues detail exactly how to deep six St. Joseph and pray for his assistance. Also the book, “St. Joseph My Real Estate Agent” apparently spells out the correct steps to ensure full St. Joseph participation. From the picture however I think “book” is generous. Perhaps pamphlet is more accurate. At any rate, the author is quoted as saying. “The distinction between superstition and devotion is created by the person doing it. In other words, if you simply bury St. Joseph and count on that to sell the house, then it’s superstition. If you do it as an act of faith, then it’s devotion.
So there you have it. For the moment I am going to remain skeptical. however should an offer come down the line pretty fast, I may have to buy some St. Joseph statues, and start digging some holes.