Real Estate Report

(March 15, 2019) Even though the real estate market is strong, and the average number of days on market are down, some homeowners follow a curious tradition of burying St. Joseph in their yard to help encourage a sale.

According to the U.S. Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., the tradition can be traced back hundreds of years to Theresa of Avila, who prayed to St. Joseph when the convents needed more land and encouraged nuns to bury St. Joseph medals in the ground as a symbol of their devotion.

Biblically, St. Joseph was the husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus Christ, and is honored as the patron saint of married couples, families, carpenters and workingmen.

It is also said that St. Joseph was a skilled craftsman and the reason he was made a Patron Saint is that he taught Jesus the craftsman’s trade and made sure that Jesus was always well housed.

Many companies market the saint in a kit, which contains a few inch-tall plastic statues and instructions on how to bury them. Most say to bury the statue head first, with the feet pointing toward heaven.

Others get more detailed and say bury the statue facing the house, feet pointing toward heaven, and near the for sale sign.

One company includes the following prayer:

“Oh, St. Joseph, guardian of household needs, we know you don’t like to be upside down in the ground, but the sooner escrow closes, the sooner we will dig you up and put you in a place of honor in our new home. Please bring us an acceptable offer (or any offer!) and help sustain our faith in the real estate market.”

Customs dictate that once the house is sold, St. Joseph be dug up and put in a place of honor in the new home.

There are two kinds of St. Joseph statues: one is the worker, who carries a water pitcher, a loaf of bread and an ax by his feet; the second is the patron of the family, holding his foster son, Jesus. Most people call on St. Joseph, the patron of the family, when trying to sell their home.

– Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc., in Berlin.

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